Actual Conversation with Hospital Billing

Jun 01 2017 Published by under Medical Paperwork

The other day I got a bill for some of my husband's medical expenses. I went to my banking site to pay, and it was the same odd amount I had paid two weeks before. Figuring it was a duplicate bill, I called the billing office. According to their records, my payment had not been received.

My bank account had proof of payment posted on my account, so I asked about the process to get this fixed. The billing person explained that I had to send a clear image of the front and back of the cancelled check.

I had a PDF including that, along with all the routing information and dates of the electronic transactions. Damn, good digital information can be fun!

Now for the punchline; I could email this, but only within the body of the email. NO ATTACHMENTS.

Yes, the medical center was losing it's stuff* over ransomware about this time and requiring all emails with attachments be quarantined. Apparently the billing department had been told to trust no PDFs from their clientele.

I ended up printing a PDF and faxing it. In May 2017.

Collection agencies have not called yet.

*I'm trying to keep it PG here...

4 responses so far

  • becca says:

    Next time ask if you can send it by courier pigeon šŸ˜‰

    • Zuska says:

      Perhaps now would be the time to invest in a pigeon flock as a retirement income strategy, for servicing our future billing & communication needs. I will be ahead of the curve on this one!

  • chall says:

    Before I moved to the USA I had no experience of hospital bills. I've been pretty healthy and lucky not to have visited a lot until lately. I have to say that it has been very stressful for a semi-OCD person to receive all these bills. On top of not knowing "how much is it" before going for the procedure, not sure when the billing stops*, if they get paid since you never get a verified (as you noticed) and then having to call the company and explain "I have paid this so the reminder with the 'collection fee' is freaking me out". I guess I should be grateful for being healthy and not having to keep track of this while sick? It's an enormous stressor.

    I hope your husband is doing better and that you are doing well too! have a great summer.

    *especially some of the smaller charges that come in like $75 for X - a few months later.

  • sPh says:

    Whenever I find myself in that situation vs a medical institution billing arm, regardless of what the customer service rep says or promises, I type up a short statement of the situation, attach copies of the relevant documents, and mail it via US Postal Service to the organization's Chief Financial Officer. Makes it very hard for the organization to later claim that it was not notified of the problem.

    In general the US Postal Service is your friend. The consumer in the United States is at a huge disadvantage in all situations compared to corporate entities, but a signed letter sent to a fiduciary officer via 1st Class mail[1] is hard to ignore and leaves a track in the entity's records.

    1 Certified, if the situation appears to be significant

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