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Old 07-30-2013, 09:27 AM   #21
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Just thinking about how much waste is involved in all of this makes me crazy. Don't think we could have ended up with such a dysfunctional system and convoluted processes even if someone had tried to design it that way.
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Old 07-30-2013, 09:48 AM   #22
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I think many consumers link the providers with the insurance companies and wonder why they aren't more efficient. The fact is that insurance is the employee benefit and the only reason providers even consider serving as a facilitator is that it is the only way to get paid. It's sort of like you lend Tommy five bucks and when you ask for it back he says Jimmy owes me five bucks, get it from him. And then Tommy chastises you because you and Jimmy have difficulty coming to terms.
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Old 07-30-2013, 10:18 AM   #23
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I've had what happened to the OP occur 3 times.

1st time was back in 1990 when DW went in for overnight surgery, and was released on a Saturday morning. To get her released they insisted I pay $5,050 which was 20% co-insurnace. I told them I had reached the max deductible for the year as I had back surgery a few months earlier. They called the insurance company but it was a Saturday so not open for business. I had to pay up to get her out. When I get the EOB a few weeks later I see that the bill was paid in full so I called the hospital and they confirmed that I was in credit by $5,050 and they hadn't planned to send out a refund to me, expected it to sit there until we used their services again.

Last time was the most bizarre, about 8 years ago. I obviously hadn't been doing a good job of tracking all the EOB's because I received a letter from the Doctor's office saying that my account had been in credit for $75 for well over 2 years and they had refunded the charge (for a tetanus shot) to the credit card I used at the time. I had cancelled that card shortly after and had to dig out old statements, that I fortunately had kept, to find my old account number. I called the CC company and they confirmed I was in credit by $75, but were not planning on sending me a check, even though I had no means of using that $75. (they did send me a check once I formally requested a refund)
Alan you then basically had the same thing I had except with a $5,000 difference. That is just plan ridiculous that they have the hubris to decide they can just keep the money for your benefit until its needed again. I don't understand this "pay to get her out" though. What did you mean by this? I am sure she wasn't handcuffed to the bed until payment so I am curious what you meant by that.
I guess CC's have different policies. I took advantage of a short term cash back offering from a card, and ultimately had a $4 credit leftover on my statement. I never did get around to using the card again, and they eventually cut me a cut a year later without me asking.
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Old 07-30-2013, 11:00 AM   #24
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Alan you then basically had the same thing I had except with a $5,000 difference. That is just plan ridiculous that they have the hubris to decide they can just keep the money for your benefit until its needed again. I don't understand this "pay to get her out" though. What did you mean by this? I am sure she wasn't handcuffed to the bed until payment so I am curious what you meant by that.
I guess CC's have different policies. I took advantage of a short term cash back offering from a card, and ultimately had a $4 credit leftover on my statement. I never did get around to using the card again, and they eventually cut me a cut a year later without me asking.
I arrived at the hospital and went to her ward where a nurse helped her get ready and said that before she could release her and take her down to the exit , I needed to go pay and bring back a receipt. (DW needed a wheelchair at this point as she couldn't walk far).


We had only been in the country a couple of years and this was the first year we had to deal with hospitals, and DW was in no condition for a big confrontation plus a friend was minding our 2 small children while I was picking her up. I also expected that I'd have it sorted early the following week and my CC debited with the refund before I had to pay it. (I never expected the hospital to hang onto my money).
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Old 07-30-2013, 11:12 AM   #25
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I arrived at the hospital and went to her ward where a nurse helped her get ready and said that before she could release her and take her down to the exit , I needed to go pay and bring back a receipt. (DW needed a wheelchair at this point as she couldn't walk far).

We had only been in the country a couple of years and this was the first year we had to deal with hospitals, and DW was in no condition for a big confrontation plus a friend was minding our 2 small children while I was picking her up. I also expected that I'd have it sorted early the following week and my CC debited with the refund before I had to pay it. (I never expected the hospital to hang onto my money).
Well if it's happened to you and I maybe it's an "industry standard practice". I wouldn't be surprised somewhere buried deep in the fine print of laws that after X number of years they can sweep the money back into their coffers permanently. It's not like they don't know your address to send you a check or anything.
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Old 07-30-2013, 11:24 AM   #26
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Well if it's happened to you and I maybe it's an "industry standard practice". I wouldn't be surprised somewhere buried deep in the fine print of laws that after X number of years they can sweep the money back into their coffers permanently. It's not like they don't know your address to send you a check or anything.
I think it must be industry practice since it has happened to me 3 times, the other 2 times being at GP offices.


Before we ER'ed we had dental insurance and the dentist's office was very good at sending out regular detailed summaries of charges, money paid by the insurance and money paid by me. I didn't mind the few occasions I was in credit 'cos they were usually the ones owed money, not me, and we did make regular visits.
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Old 07-30-2013, 11:40 AM   #27
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I can not believe that the hospital would not notify me of overpayment and refund me the difference. If I had not looked at my quarterly health statement I would not have known, as BCBS certainly didn't know how much I paid the hospital. I wonder if this stuff goes on all the time, or if I was just the unfortunate one?
This has happened to us. I see it not as an industry practice but instead a choice by the service provider with full knowledge that some patients are being overcharged, and we do not return to providers that do this. Labcorp had a particularly odious practice for at least one year, even with insurance they demanded a credit card, signed, with an open amount to be determined and charged later if insurance did not pay their fee. They stopped after loads of bitter complaints channeled through the insurers.

In situation like this it helps to complain to the insurer. They will find this practice objectionable and may voice their desire to see the practice ended.
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Old 07-30-2013, 12:11 PM   #28
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I would sit down and personally review all accounts with balances every couple of months. Most people with credit balances would call the office in the interim angry that we didn't send them their credit immediately. Funny, no one with a debit ever called. Not once in 27 years. And they represented 99% of the accounts with balances.
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Old 07-30-2013, 12:46 PM   #29
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I would sit down and personally review all accounts with balances every couple of months. Most people with credit balances would call the office in the interim angry that we didn't send them their credit immediately. Funny, no one with a debit ever called. Not once in 27 years. And they represented 99% of the accounts with balances.
My complaint is based under the assumption that creditor knows he has the money and the recipient does not. That would be the equivalent to me anyways of the payer not being billed and not knowing they actually owed more money. I would think offices would send out billing notices, so I would believe it fair they send out notices of credits, too. But in the totality of it all, yes I would not question your overall conclusion. In fact, as a person who ultimately will need medical doctors to repair me, I hope none of these billing procedures, insurance hassles, and all other doctor paperwork are not introduced to medical students until they are about to graduate. As they might decide it is not worth the hassle to become a doctor and enter an unrelated field. FWIW- My complaint was never with the doctor, as that was a separate bill. In fact the doctors office was helpful in directing me to who I needed to call to get this straightened out, as the hospital did not have any phone number that I could use that directed me straight to the billing department.
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Old 07-30-2013, 01:20 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by Mulligan

My complaint is based under the assumption that creditor knows he has the money and the recipient does not. That would be the equivalent to me anyways of the payer not being billed and not knowing they actually owed more money. I would think offices would send out billing notices, so I would believe it fair they send out notices of credits, too. But in the totality of it all, yes I would not question your overall conclusion. In fact, as a person who ultimately will need medical doctors to repair me, I hope none of these billing procedures, insurance hassles, and all other doctor paperwork are not introduced to medical students until they are about to graduate. As they might decide it is not worth the hassle to become a doctor and enter an unrelated field. FWIW- My complaint was never with the doctor, as that was a separate bill. In fact the doctors office was helpful in directing me to who I needed to call to get this straightened out, as the hospital did not have any phone number that I could use that directed me straight to the billing department.

I understand. I'm just trying to give another POV. The existence of a credit on a ledger doesn't mean the provider is a thief anymore than a debit means the patient is a dirtbag.
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Old 07-31-2013, 03:21 AM   #31
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My complaint is based under the assumption that creditor knows he has the money and the recipient does not. That would be the equivalent to me anyways of the payer not being billed and not knowing they actually owed more money. I would think offices would send out billing notices, so I would believe it fair they send out notices of credits, too. But in the totality of it all, yes I would not question your overall conclusion. In fact, as a person who ultimately will need medical doctors to repair me, I hope none of these billing procedures, insurance hassles, and all other doctor paperwork are not introduced to medical students until they are about to graduate. As they might decide it is not worth the hassle to become a doctor and enter an unrelated field. FWIW- My complaint was never with the doctor, as that was a separate bill. In fact the doctors office was helpful in directing me to who I needed to call to get this straightened out, as the hospital did not have any phone number that I could use that directed me straight to the billing department.


+1


As I said above, I liked the practice my dentist's office used in that I would get a monthly summary whenever there was a non-zero balance. Sometimes he owed me and it was okay that he didn't send me a refund because I was informed, and could choose to let it lie as a credit towards the next visit, which I always did.
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Old 07-31-2013, 04:29 PM   #32
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Me I always get a receipt even it it means a few less trees. Than when BCBS sends me an email that a new EBO is online, print and staple to the receipt. Done.

A great idea to have the last EBO with total deductible paid to date.
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