The saga is finally over…almost…

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For “regular” readers of my blog I have to apologize.  I’ve been a little silent lately.  The new year brings new energy and so I’m renewing my efforts to wax poetically on a panoply of topics.  That said, let’s put to rest, almost, one of the longest running sagas in my blog’s history – my trip to the emergency room that happened on June 3, 2014.  You can read the first installment of my 18 month running gun battle with the healthcare industry here to catch up.

Last week I finally received an EOB from BCBS MA and a final bill from Bayfront Medical.  Interestingly enough the two didn’t agree AT ALL.  My EOB showed that I had a patient responsibility portion of $1,613.27 but my Bayfront bill, which was marked Due Upon Receipt, showed a balance of $2,922.18 AFTER a $500 payment had been deducted.  The bill showed the following billing detail:

Total Charges … $12,807.74

Insurance Payments to Date … -$2,880.74

Patient Payments to Date … -$500.00

Adjustments to Date … -$6,504.82

Account Balance … $2,992.18

When I called I spoke with Stephanie and she told me that the difference is because there are late fees associated with the account.  LATE FEES?  I got the first Due on Receipt bill on 01/04/2016 and the second Due on Receipt bill on 01/10/2016 – so what late fees?  She calmly told me that when you don’t get your claim submitted on time there are sometimes late fees assessed.  I calmly reminded her that it was Bayfront and not me that couldn’t get the claim filed correctly for nearly 18 months, or so I had been told on my monthly call to them prompted each time by the receipt in the mail of a total balance due bill that I was told to not bother paying until the matter is resolved with my insurance company.  She agreed that it wasn’t actually me but rather the hospital so she would be happy to waive the late fees and collect a payment of $1,613.27.  I was pleased and paid that amount but was left with some lingering questions:

  1. Why is there no indication on the bill that there are late fees?  I feel like that is a rule/regulation/law that you need to disclose what you’re billing for – perhaps not.
  2. What would have happened if a less informed individual received this bill?  They would have paid it and overpaid by more than $1,000!  How is that right?
  3. Wait a minute – I already paid $500!  Why didn’t I pay $1,113.27 instead of $1,613.27???

So now on my second call of the day, Stephanie has me on hold with the escalations department because they don’t have any record of my $500 payment – errrrr – other than their OWN BILL.  And, in a odd turn of near-real-time blogging, they’ve now come back to me to tell me that they do in fact have the payment in their system but it doesn’t show up on the right screens for some reason (maybe because it’s more than a year old???) and so they are sending my whole case to insurance review.  Once there they will review everything and apply any credits that are necessary.  I was then instructed to allow up to FIVE WEEKS for this process.  So once again, our tragically antiquated healthcare system strikes again.  I have overpaid and now 500 of my hard earned HSA dollars will be tied up for more than a month while a hospital that failed to properly diagnose me in the first place (see many other blog posts) AND failed to properly file the claim for 579 days figures out how to bill me properly.  *SIGH*

Regardless, this story is ended and I will move on to other topics shortly – like my recent exposure to contemporary opera.  It’s been fun…NOT!