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Bills $$$

Discussion in 'Health Insurance, HMO, HIPAA & Disability' started by Dupont, Jan 28, 2002.

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  1. Dupont

    Dupont Law Topic Starter New Member

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    My wife just had surgery and the Hospital charged more then my
    Insurance would pay. Over $17,000 for a 1 night stay. My Insurance payed all but $3,500. But now the Hospital says that
    they want the balance paid up in 12 months or they will turn me into a collection agency. I have made a payment every month
    sence November of way less then they want. But I am trying, can
    thay turn me in for that. Also how can they charge that much for such a short stay? Thanks...Dupont
     
  2. Michael Wechsler

    Michael Wechsler Administrator Staff Member

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    You need to inquire from them what the costs involved. Did you know what the approximate costs were in advance? You might want to compare what a similar stay and procedure elsewhere would cost. If you don't pay a valid bill within a reasonable time then I see no reason why they can't send the bill to a collection agency, which by mention seems to scare people. They are not an enforcement authority like the police and are limited to the same remedies at law as any other creditor, subject to some imposed restrictions.
     
  3. Dupont

    Dupont Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Bills$$$

    Thanks for replying to my problem. No I didnt get a cost up front.
    I am from a small town where there is only 2 hospitals so I didnt
    have much choice. I agree I must pay the bill,and I have been makeing a payment every month. But what I didnt agree on was the amount I would pay every month. They say that I must pay this off in 6 to 8 months and want me to make a large payment
    in which I cant aford. I guess I thought as long as I made a atempt to pay it off and made a payment every month they couldnt turn me in. I realize that I had the option to travel to another town, but this is where our doctor wanted to do the surgery. BTW the doctor even over charged more then the insurance would pay too. But luckly he was nice enough to wave the balance. I just think there may be a lot of hidden charges or over charges and just cant except the fact that it cost over 17K
    for a 1 night stay. Thanks Dupont
     
  4. Michael Wechsler

    Michael Wechsler Administrator Staff Member

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    If so, as I said, find out if you were price gouged. If the procedures at similar hospitals are nowhere near the amount you paid, you may wish to also alert your attorney general. However, you really cannot complain until you actually do the research required and make a good faith determination. Simply because your insurance didn't cover the entire cost of the procedure does not mean that he overcharged you -- insurance is not always designed to cover all costs and it depends upon your coverage and the premium you pay.
     
  5. jmacgregor

    jmacgregor New Member

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    nooks & crannies

    Significan things to look at when dealing with hospitals, doctors, and debts:

    1. gain an itemized bill of EVERYTHING. If they can charge you for it, they were charged first and have to have a price available. This will cover the physical or tangable aspect of your costs.

    2. look over the itemization and look carefully for double or tripple charged items or items not pertinant to the services rendered(very common). Do this even more so with lab tests and medications given. Then, if you're as anal as I am, you can request the exact time and date those were done. If they can't give these to you or the results aren't obtainable, they wern't done (even if they were, you dig?).

    3. Find out what doctors did what (very specifically) and why and was it approved.

    There are many avenues to follow when disputing the costs of a hospital visit. I hope these help. Another thing you may take into consideration is whether the hospital is privately owned or a non profit. This would change the total of your bill considerably as a private institution is there to make money...Your money...and they will. This sounds more like your case. A non profit hospital can write off much more and be compensated for by the state and federal government, whereas a private institution will come after you more like a collection agency.

    It is very possible that your bill is justifiably 17G. In my workplace, the ER, a full-fledged trauma can easily cost that in a matter of a few hours even if the chopper ride was free. Bottom line is they can't take what you don't have. If you are making an attempt to pay, I don't think a reasonable person could argue.

    Best of luck,
    jM
     

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