Thursday, April 15, 2010

I'm Healing and getting Sicker by the Bill

I got sick. I couldn't avoid a trip to the hospital. I have no insurance. I do not have the funds nor the assets to pay for the huge hospital bill that I know is coming. I've decided to blog about what occurs when something like this happens to the lower middle class folks who work (or have worked far more than their fair share) for a living so they don't qualify for any sort of help. There are far, far, more of us than most of you want to believe there are.

The first two bills came in the mail today. One is from Florence, NC from Arkansas Pathology Associates for looking at a biopsy. I had to call them to find out what the bill was for because this was not included on the bill. I then asked them if they would reduce their fees if I was able to pay cash for the charge. The young lady replied, "No". So I then asked if the billed amount was what Medicaid, or Medicare, or what an insurance company would pay them and the young lady again replied, "No" because we would be paid at their discounted rate for the procedure.

So. Arkansas Pathology Associates may only receive 50 to 60% for this charge from a medicaid, medicare, or insurance provider, but someone like me who can't get insurance, can't afford insurance, and does not qualify for medicaid or medicare, has to pay the full amount charged.

Does anyone other than myself see how wrong this is?

The second bill came from the Anesthesiologists group and the amount was for $1105. I called them because anesthesiologists wasn't on the statement anywhere and again, I wanted to know what the charges were for. A young lady named Crysta was immediately helpful and provided me with the information I requested. When I told her I did not have insurance she immediately told me that she could discount the charged to less than half and if I could send her a check for $500, the account would be paid in full. Before agreeing to this, I asked her if I'd still get the discount if I couldn't pay the $500 in full but had to pay it over 3 or 4 months. She told me no. If payments were set up, the original charges would be due.

I can't see too much right about this either. If you don't have insurance your cost for medical is automatically 50 to 70% more. I'm very glad that I have $500 to send to them but I'm running out of money and the largest bills haven't even arrived yet.

I wonder if I have any body parts worth selling?


Joan said...

ahhh Ms. Brenda now ain't that a pile of horse manure. They get you coming and they get you going. I sure hope you can make a deal for the rest of the bills. It's a real shame.

Hope you are getting better though. Take care kiddo.

Sally said...

I know this is so disheartening, and frustrating Ms Brenda, and I'm so sorry. I remember when I was without ins. for a while (before medicare) the dr office visits were double what my ins. had been paying. It doesn't make a lick of sense to me; they can't give a break to people? I do remember, though, from the past: if you haven't talked with the "company" and send in a small payment; if they accept it, then they HAVE to continue to. Don't know if this helps or not. (((hugs)))

Donna said...

I'm with Sally! It's the same here...send in a little and don't call anyone else...They'll take it or they can get NOTHING! Trust me, they'll be glad to take payments!
In THIS economy?? Oh Yeah! You're in the drivers seat!
Been dancing yet??LOL

Brenda said...

But had I not talked with that one for $1150 I'd be paying $1150 instead of the discounted $500.

Donna said...

There are certainly improvements that need to be made for health care in this country. Unfortunately, with the latest bill passage, costs and access to doctors/facilities are only going to get worse. All the taxes and new rules are going to break everyone's back.

When I went without insurance for several years and had medical/hospital bills, I paid what I could and negotiated everything at a lower price (about half). It took me 3-4 years to pay it all off, but I did it. Just tell them that you don't have the money with all the other bills and come up with acceptable payment plans. They can't get it out of you if you don't have it.

And you really might want to consider getting a high deductible insurance plan sometime. That would be better than having absolutely nothing. We all hate to pay insurance (health, car, house, life) because it adds up to a lot of money going out the door with (normally) nothing to show for it. But when the poop hits the fan, then we are glad that we have it.

bermudabluez said...

Oh Brenda....I feel so bad for you! As if the sickness isn't bad enough....they have to make things worse!! I am very glad that you are blogging about this as so many people don't understand that the middle class folks are getting ripped off right and left and nobody is doing anything about it! My SIL had cancer and her bills were just outrageous...even with the insurance that she had. My husband and I are not in a great boat right now with insurance either....he will qualify for Medicare but'll be another 12 years! We are paying over $500 a month now for insurance. It is just awful. I feel for you, girl....but I hope you are getting better!!

Brenda said...

When James's employer decided about 8 years ago that he could no longer afford to help with insurance for his employees we tried to find our own and I was turned down over and over because I'd been sick before.

Andrea (Off Her Cork) said...

Brenda, I've totally been there. I would still be there if Scott's company didn't offer to cover me as well. I know how fucked this country is over health insurance and how hard-working honest people get the sharp end of the stick. It totally sucks. I think you're right in documenting this for loads of reasons.

Diane at Crafty Passions said...

I Hope your feeling better.
I am so sorry about the huge bills coming in.
I live in Canada we don't have that problem here and I thank God we don't because we would be in the same boat.
Focus on getting well.
Take care

Jeanne said...

Health Care just makes you sick doesn't it? Hang in there sweetie and heal!

SOUL said...

thats what i say -- payment plan baby --
and besides that -- i know you know i don't know squat about this health care obama stuff-- but what about that? does that help you at all?
just askin?

anyhow-- don't sweat it-- payments.
whatever you can afford - they gotta take it.

have a good day -- be careful with yo-self

Anonymous said...

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