Healthcare According To Ernie – The $10,000 Bill


I’ve been patient lately – no not patient but simply patient.  I’ve been waiting for my claim to be processed by my health plan so I can settle up with the hospital and move on from this saga.  Much to my surprise, I received a notice in the mail from Bayfront Medical telling me that I now owe them $10, 764.14.  In a very bold section at the bottom of the page there’s a header that reads, “A message for you…” and the message was:

We want you to be aware that it has been 45 days since we billed your insurance and, as of today, we have not received a response.  Please contact your insurance carrier regarding payment.  Notify the hospital business office if we can be of assistance.”

Well that’s an awfully nice note, but there’s a few issues with the information it conveys:

  1. It hasn’t been 45 days since they billed my insurance.  I contacted my plan numerous times since my discharge on June 4th and it wasn’t until July 22nd that they reported that they had, “…just received a claim from Bayfront Medical…”
  2. According to the account summary the “…as of today…” reference in my nice message refers to July 27th.  If they filed the claim on July 22nd and they printed this letter on July 27th that’s 5 days – not 45 days.  Perhaps they’re just confused?
  3. In the summary of charges section they also note that, “The charges listed below do not reflect the discount that you and your insurance company received.”  Really?  Why not?  So you have given me a discount but choose not to show me what the discount is and instead attempt to bill me for the full amount?

All I can say is shame on you Bayfront Medical, shame, shame, shame.  I have to ask again, what if I was not a savvy consumer and received this bill and just paid it?  Now I would be out a total of $11,264.14 while my insurance company and you worked out the billing.  You would then refund me the difference of course but in the interim I’ve undergone significant financial stress.

Is it all Bayfront’s fault?  No, not really.  It’s indicative of a system that is designed such that the consumer has no single person to go to for help.  Regardless, providers and their networks don’t have to behave in exploitive and/or predatory manners.

What do you think?