The bill that won’t die

When I had my Bell’s Palsy scare last year, it required a visit to the ER because initially we thought it was a possible stroke.  My two hours in the ER generated a bill of over $6000 which was outrageous in itself but par for the course in our perverse American healthcare system.  So the end result of this was my being sent a bill of roughly $1000 for my portion of the expenses not covered by insurance, which was still ridiculous, in my view.

I asked for an itemized bill which broke down all of the individual charges, one of which really stuck out, $700 for one pill.  When I did some checking on my own, a 10 day prescription of this medicine costs around $20 yet somehow the hospital was charging me 35 times that for a single dose, it was pure lunacy.  I called up the patient billing department and raised hell, repeatedly.  The initial scripted response was something along the lines of hospitals don’t give discounted pricing on medicine like a pharmacy does that takes insurance.  I called bullshit on that immediately and refused to take no for an answer.  Eventually I was told the $700 charge for the single pill was going to be totally dropped.  Great, I win, or so I thought.

Keep in mind my visit to the ER was last APRIL.  Since then I have received several bills for varying amounts.  Whenever I did I called up, said WTF, and was told it was some sort of error and that the bill would be resubmitted and adjusted.  Back in August I received a bill that showed I owed nothing.  Finally the saga was over, right?

Well that ended yesterday when a fresh bill arrived from the hospital, some 10 months after the incident.  The amount due is now back to what the original amount was, almost 1k.  This system is meant to break you down, to frustrate you to the point where you just throw up your hands and write a check to end the stupidity.  Of course I don’t give up that easily so I will once again pick up the phone and verbally spar with someone until I get the bill “resubmitted” once again. Idiots.

Cindy is babysitting today so we aren’t doing a traditional Valentine’s Day dinner tonight.  Instead we hope to get out tomorrow night for a date.  I also have to go into the office tomorrow morning for a few hours to get some work done.  I have Monday off so I felt like having an extra day in my weekend takes some of the sting of working Saturday away.

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