Medical bill run around
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|Wed, 05-28-2014 - 5:01pm|
In January, I was taken to the ER by ambulance with stroke symptoms. I had the usual tests and plus a CT and an MRI. .I have insurance through my husband's company and we were told by the insurance company everything would be covered but I had a $1000 deductible. The ER visit resulted in me having to see a neurosurgeon, another MRI and physical therapy. Again, I was told by the insurance company I was covered. It wasn't until I went for physical therapy that I was told by the billing office that my insurance company said I had already used my $500 a year outpatient but they would cover some because of a contract they have with the PT place. Of course I was told this after I had already had 3 sessions. Not trusting what was going on, I immediately canceled future appointments.
I received my first of many medical bills at the end of April. The hospital bill is $22,000.00. The insurance only paid $50 of it plus the $500 outpatient. The bills for the lab work, the ER doctor, radiology, neurosurgeon, ambulance, the secnd MRI and PT were not covered at all. They all wanted their money paid in full in a week. On the hospital bill it said financial aid or charity is available to call with all income information etc. I had it all together and called. They never asked for my incoe information but instead told me what they will accept. It was $500 a month. We can't afford that. The lady said she'd have to talk to her manager and she would get back to me. The manager called me back and said she is only allowed to accept $200 a month at the very least. They'll allow that for 6 months before I'm charged interest. I asked about charity and was told I don't qualify. Mind you, they never asked about income. My friend who works for hospital billng told me I should ask for an itemized bill and ask for a discount for being a self paying patient since my insurance didn't cover anything. It was a fight just to get that. I did manage to get my bill down to $5000 but they won't take anything less than $200. The other billing places are no better. One offered me a discount but I had to pay it right then and there. I asked her to send me a letter stating that is what is agreed upon and was told that's not policy. I told her my policy is not to make financial agreements over the phone and I'm protecting myself and her company by asking for a letter. Refused. Told me I had to pay them at the very least $100 a month. That is not in our budget with all these medical bills coming in. I just need some time to get everything in order.
I have been told by people to just pay all these bills what I can afford and as long as they're getting something, they can't send me to collections. I sent the hospital $55 dollars and they cashed the check but I received a phone call stating they will only accept $200 minimum. If I don't then they will take legal action. Once again, I asked about the charity program and was told I'm not qualified. I asked them how they knew that since they never bothered to ask for my income info. She said because of my zip code. I was then told I should learn how to live below my means and I'm what is wrong with America. I'm trying to get a hand out. I'm not, I'm trying to pay my debt. I have been trying to appeal to my insurance company and I'm not getting anywhere. They told me if all this had happened before the first of the year, I would've been covered but their policies changed with the new year. We've since dropped them and are now paying out of pocket for insurance that will cover us. My doctor wants another MRI done in July. I was told by the hospital that since I have a bill with them, I can't have an MRI done there. I have to go to a hospital for this that my doctor belongs to. If we paid all these companies what they want, we would be out on the street. I don't know how much more below our means we can get. We use prepaid cells, no cable or satellite, driving clunkers, we have never taken a vacation and we don't have credit cards.
I guess my question is, can these billing departments legally cash my checks but still send me to collections because I didn't give them what they wanted? I was told by another friend to either file bankruptcy or just let them all go to collections. It'll end up being cheaper that way and the hospitals and doctors lose in the end.