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Old 03-04-2012, 11:22 AM   #41
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A Users Guide for Health Care Billing


Taking care of the billing for health care can be a perplexing and frustrating experience for the inexperienced. It is much different than paying a vendor for a service or even resolving problems with a defective product. The problem is that most people never got the users guide. I was able purchase the Guide below for only 23 easy, weekly installment payments. I wish I had bought it before.


Users Guide


Most of the dissonance that many experience with health care bills comes from not understanding the health care billing process.


1st When you receive any correspondence in the mail from a health care entity, be glad. Do not feel a pain in your gut and don't let that vein in your forehead pop out. You will open it and it will undoubtedly be some sort of bill. This is your first mistake. All inquiries come in the form of a bill. The billing department is either confused or they have a question about something. It is against the custom to call you and ask a question. I know that to your untrained eyes it looks like a bill but it is not. I repeat, it looks like a bill that the other vendors send but it is not. It is a cry for help.


2nd What to do about the recent letter(“bill”)? It is best to let the confusion subside. The best way to do this is to let it age. The more confusing the billing looks, the more it needs to age. Stick it on top of the laundry basket. Just as Doctors practice Medicine, billing entities practice billing. Be patient.
For the uninitiated, the first impulse is to call and try to help straighten it out. Don't! You can only make matters worse. Who would you call that knows what is going on anyway?
The next thing that will happen is that they will send you more “bills”. If they are identical to the previous one, it means they are on the right track and you can move to the 3rd step. Sadly, this is usually not the case. The doctor, hospital, testing lab and insurance company etc will answer each others questions if you can just be patient and keep aging the bills. When the “final, final” bill comes, then you can try to talk to a person. But if you are patient, the collection agency will call you to ask for information.


3rd Intervention. If the bills are consistent, then you can contact them to correct the billing accuracy if it is needed. This is the time to tell them that you had a colonoscopy, not plastic surgery. This is also a good time to clear up who gets paid for what. If these facts are in order, then it is time to talk about the suggested bill. They never know what exactly to charge so they always charge real high, knowing the real price is somewhere between zero and infinity. This negotiation process is a lost art in our culture. Haggling is still a part of everyday life Europe, Mexico and other places. It is a fascinating opportunity to practice up on your medical vocabulary and get to know the people at the insurance company / collection agency. In the end, you will be happy to pay some reduced amount.
So many bills, so many offices, agencies and entities to pay.
An attempt at humor but I really do handle the health care billing situation this way. I really wish I did not have to learn this by trial and error.
The joke is the way health care is administered IMHO.
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Old 03-05-2012, 03:41 PM   #42
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I think you should let your hubbie sleep on the lower bunk.
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Old 03-05-2012, 10:19 PM   #43
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I use the VA and they tell us to go to the emergency room for a life threatening emergency. I read some where that the VA reimburses the hospital at 70% of the Medicaid rate...
O wow! With that haircut you are lucky that they don't just put you on gurney and roll you into the alley alongside the dumpster.

Ha
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Old 03-06-2012, 08:57 AM   #44
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Free, I actually employ a similar method, especially with the mystifying bills that come periodically from FIL's nursing home. Talk about confusing!
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Old 03-07-2012, 07:04 PM   #45
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Free, I actually employ a similar method, especially with the mystifying bills that come periodically from FIL's nursing home. Talk about confusing!
Glad to see that I have some company here. I don't want to recount the series of events that got me to such a "unusual" philosophy but I think they are common for health care in some parts of the country. Situations like the ones that are recounted in this thread give evidence to this.
I can't believe that someone, someone like a health care lawyer has not created some guidelines for how to deal better with this corporate organ for your day to day health care expenses.
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Old 03-07-2012, 08:02 PM   #46
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I was talking to someone who said she waits six months before paying a bill.

She also told me of an author who analyzed healthcare systems around the world. He found that the most socialist system was: the VA.
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Old 03-08-2012, 04:22 PM   #47
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O wow! With that haircut you are lucky that they don't just put you on gurney and roll you into the alley alongside the dumpster.

Ha
True, but REAL Patriots should just suck it up and not get sick in the first place
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Old 05-03-2012, 11:33 AM   #48
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After the hospital files the bill with your insurance company and receives back their negotiated amount and any payment, they will bill you. Many hospitals will give a discount (mine gives 25%) if you pay your portion immediately, so be sure to inquire about this. This also has the effect of reducing your deductible and out-of-pocket maximum
After dealing with a "hospital advocate" who got us an emergency room doctor to explain the bill and give us DH's records at no charge, we tried to pay the insurance negotiated rate today. Talked to two people in billing who not only would not give us a cash discount (its the same price if we pay monthly for 12months or all of it right now). They thought we should be happy that they weren't charging us to take our payment!!!!

DH got so mad he called the hospital advocate again.
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Old 05-23-2012, 10:17 AM   #49
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O wow! With that haircut you are lucky that they don't just put you on gurney and roll you into the alley alongside the dumpster.

Ha
No gurneys Ha, I found this info staing that the VA will reimburse at the Medicare rate (Yeah, still a haircut) OR the previously negotiated rate between the VA and other providers (whichever is lower...)

https://www.aamc.org/advocacy/washhi...n-va_care.html
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Old 05-23-2012, 12:22 PM   #50
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You might want to do the monthly payment plan. Something similar happened to a friend, she could have paid in full but selected a payment plan. After a few months the hospital called and offered a significant discount if they paid in full at that point rather than continue the payment plan.
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