Hospital Scam Artists

I was recently reminded of my extreme annoyance with the financial department of our local hospital and felt that I should share.

There are actually two different incidents I would like to relate. The first happened two days after I got home from the hospital with my son. I was admitted for an emergency induction with him because I'd developed Pre-Eclampsia. (If you've never heard of it, click on the link. It's a nasty condition, and if you are pregnant you need to know the symptoms.) So I hadn't gotten to the hospital yet to turn in the Pre-Admission form and pay their pre-admission fee.

So my phone rings and my husband brings it to me, and says he doesn't know who it is, but they are asking for me. And a little lady comes on the line telling me that I owe such and such an amount of money for the hospital stay. No problem. I mean obviously I was expecting it and had money saved for it. So I ask her to send me a bill, and she says to me that I have to give her my credit card number over the phone because this is something that should have been paid before I was even admitted.

I mean good grief! I am out of the hospital two days and perfectly willing to pay the bill, but she wants my credit card number right then and there. I explained to her the situation under which I was admitted and again asked for her to send me a bill. To which she then again responds that I was supposed to have already paid it. I at that point informed her that I was not a complete imbecile, and that if she was willing to give out her credit card number to people who just called her with unlisted numbers then that she should seriously do some research into credit card fraud and phishing.

She then said that she would send a bill right out.

THANK YOU! THAT IS ALL I ASK!

Of course, the bill didn't come for four months…

Something similar was done to three other people I know, and their bills were sent to collections before they even sent a bill out asking for money…

The second incident happened after I had to go to the emergency room with my little guy after he had a seizure induced by a high fever right after he turned one.

First of all we sat in the emergency room waiting room for eight hours before getting to see anyone, but okay what can you do if you're short on doctors, right? Well, I had a friend who was just in the waiting room for hours on end barely able to breath with a blood clot in his lung, so… I mean if you can't breathe or you're having chest pains maybe it's time to move you up on the roster… But I digress…

A few weeks later we got a bill for the price of our co-pay, which I then paid and sent back. No problem right? I figure we're square. Then a couple weeks after that I get another bill from the hospital. Apparently that was for the doctors and the other was for the hospital…

The kicker…?

There was a note on the bill that said that anything that was paid quickly and didn't have to go to insurance got a 40% discount.

I then called my insurance and they said that I should just call them back and make sure they sent it on to claims, because all I actually had to pay was the co-pay.

So what was this about? I can't know for sure, but it seems to be a way for them to make you pay more than you actually have to because it's less work for them to have to send it through insurance. Plus the insurance company will argue the prices of things and get discounts you couldn't get. So basically they are just being bums…

What is the moral of these tales? Be very careful with hospital bills because they are hurting for money, and they aren't above trying to confuse you to get more.

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