Paid in Full

Remember that time back in December when I was having esophageal spasms that were like bacon frying in my chest, and I was transferred to the hospital via ambulance, and the whole thing was related to panic and post-trauma approaching the anniversary of December 23?

 

Well, I got the bill for that luxury ride.  Just a bit over one thousand dollars.

 

When I see a bill like that, I wonder why I didn’t freaking drive myself to the blasted hospital.  And then I remember that I couldn’t sit up or speak, and I give myself a little grace as I dip into my savings account.

 

Before they received my payment, they sent me a second bill; the two envelopes passed each other in postal cyberspace.  But here’s the deal: the second bill was for eight hundred.

 

I had just paid one thousand.

 

Just give me a moment to make a phone call here.  Do I owe another eight hundred?  Or did I overpay?  Is there money coming back to me?  Let’s all cross our fingers and hope on cherry sundaes.

 

I spoke with the operator, and she said, “Oh, I see, so you have two bills then?”

 

“Yes.  The first is for $1000, and the second is for $800.”

 

“Well, that’s a conractual adjustment.  That’s all.”

 

“Can you tell me more about that?”

 

“Sure.  When we work with an insurance company, we make contractual adjustments to the total cost.  So that $200 isn’t actually real money paid.”

 

(??)

 

“Well, it’s real money that I paid.

 

“It’s just a contractual adjustment, ma’am.”

 

“I’m so sorry – and please forgive me – but I have no idea what that means right now.  I paid the bill, but then I received a second one for two hundred dollars less.  So, as I see it, if I had waited two weeks to pay the bill, it would have cost me two hundred dollars less.”

 

“Ma’am, if I were you, I’d pay the eight hundred instead of the one thousand.”

 

Well, you and I think alike.  “The problem is, I already paid the higher bill.”

 

“Then your balance is paid in full.”

 

“Well, more than full, I think.  I paid two hundred dollars more.”

 

“Oh, so you’re wondering who will receive the refund for the extra money you paid?”

 

A break through.  “Yes.”

 

“Well, it will either be you, or the insurance company, or it’s just a contractual adjustment.”

 

“And how could we narrow down which one?”

 

She’s going to talk to her supervisor and return my call.

 

Contractual Adjustment.  Please.  I’ll Contract your Adjustment.

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8 thoughts on “Paid in Full

  1. Oh my goodness gracious!! Something needs adjusting, that’s for sure!

  2. What kind of nonsense is that about?! This month I was on a similar phone call for a twenty four THOUSAND hospital bill. Finally it got sorted out to: “Looks like your payment and this letter crossed in the mail.” Ok. I’ll take it. Even though we made our payment AT the hospital before I even left. Good luck, Tricia.

  3. I can relate to this scenario. I had surgery last Oct and continue to argue with both Medicare and Ralph’s employment insurance as to who will pay for the surgery. Neither feel they are responsible. I am wondering why I pay monthly premiums

  4. “I’ll Contract your Adjustment.” LOL!
    Either that or I’ll “adjust your contract”!

  5. Having personally dealt with cancer related bills for the last 7 years, I quickly learned NOT to pay any bill until it is turned over to their attorney for collection. Amazing how the amount I owed was dramatically reduced. I used to feel guilty not paying on time – not anymore. Lesson learned.

    • That’s exactly what I was going to say: wait, don’t pay the first bill, just wait. We “owed” $1500 after insurance had paid their totals…until I asked the hospital for an itemized bill. Suddenly that $1500 disappeared! Good rule of thumb: wait.

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