It Takes More Than Money To Clear A Bill

, , , | Healthy | December 1, 2017

(I get about a $3,000 bill from a doctor I had seen several months prior. I am confused because I know my insurance had paid it. I call the billing dept. but get no answer and leave a message. I forget about it until the next month when the bill comes again. Once again, I call, leave a message, and forget about it. Then I get a letter threatening to send me to a collection agency. I call my insurance company to double check. They tell me that not only have they paid it, but had a duplicate charge under a different account number that was of course denied. I start calling every other day. The office phones aren’t open until 10 am and they shut them down at 3:30 pm. I either get a recording and leave a message or the receptionist tells me everyone is in a meeting. This goes on for over three weeks. Then I get another threatening letter. I even go to the office in person but am told everyone is in a meeting and no one can talk to me. At this point I have had it. I wait until 10 pm at night. I call and get the voicemail system. When it says press “1” for nurse, I do so and leave a detailed, angry message that NO ONE will return my calls, I am being threatened with being sent to a collection agency for a bill that was paid, and someone better call me back or I am filing fraud charges with the insurance company and talking to a lawyer. I hang up and call back and do it again after pressing a number for a different department. I go through the entire employee directory. I do this for almost two hours and leave dozens of messages on EVERY SINGLE EMPLOYEE’S voicemail. I then call the doctor’s emergency after-hours line and leave the same message there. The next morning, at 10:01, I call the office. The receptionist recognizes my voice.)

Receptionist: “Yes, ma’am, I have the office manager here for you” *transfers me*

Manager: “Good morning, Mrs. [My Name]. I was just about to call you.”

Me: “Yeah, I bet you were.”

Manager: *sheepishly* “Yeah, everyone is talking about the messages you left, especially the doctor.”

Me: “Well, it’s not like you left me much choice.”

(She apologizes and explains. The guy who was handling the bills was creating fake patient accounts and double billing the insurance companies. Most didn’t catch it, paid the doctor, and then the guy stole the money. They fired him but have such a paperwork mess to clean up and had to gather the evidence to convict him that they didn’t have time to call the patients.)

Me: “I understand, but that is no excuse. You are sending me letters threatening to send me to a collection agency.”

Manager: “What?! Crap, the computers are printing those out automatically. We didn’t know any had been mailed out.”

Me: “Yeah, well they are and you better start answering these calls because you have some very peeved off patients who, like me, are calling lawyers.”

(She apologized again and told me that my account had been cleared up. I wonder, though, about all the others who just kept calling and getting nowhere.)

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