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This Whole Thing Is A WRITE OFF

, , , | Right | June 28, 2017

(I work for a health insurance company. We pay our our maximum amount on all emergency room visits no matter where services are done or contracting status of provider.)

Customer: “So I feel like there should be a WRITE OFF done by somebody to WRITE OFF some of these charges.”

Me: “I understand a large bill from a hospital can be a burden, which is why we paid your ER claim as much as we would possibly pay any claim, at the highest level — our in network pay bracket.”

Customer: “Who does the WRITE OFF then? I was told there could be a WRITE OFF.”

Me: “Contracts with doctors can result in them accepting our paid amount and writing off the rest. Your visit was to a non-contracted provider, so they aren’t beholden to any agreement on how much they can charge you.”

Customer: “So they would do the WRITE OFF, then?”

Me: “Have you spoken to them about negotiating a plan to pay your bill yet?”

Customer: “Yes, and they told me to call you and say WRITE OFF a lot and ask if you could pay them in a lower bracket than you did because it could mean they get more money towards the bill.”

Me: *after a silent “wow”* “That’s simply bad advice. There isn’t a world in which paying them less would result in them getting more money. Those two things are the opposite of each other.”

Customer: “Oh. Why would they make me do this, waste my time and make me seem like a fool?”

Me: “You’re not a fool. You’re looking for a way to reduce a very large and unexpected expense. I’m sorry the hospital that is billing you deflected your concerns by giving you an untenable solution. You can report unprofessional conduct by our contracted providers, should you ever encounter a problem with them.”

Customer: “Did you say something about them getting more money?”

Me: *after a moment of stunned silence* “You could get back to the person in that hospital who advised you of these options and request they send us a letter officially asking to be paid at a lower bracket. They are even able to agree to a WRITE-OFF in the same letter. The format for this charitable concern is on our website.”

Customer: “They wouldn’t do that, would they?”

Me: “It was their idea, wasn’t it?”

Customer: “Yes, it was, but I don’t think that’s what they meant.”

Me: “What did they mean?”

Customer: “I called you to find out!”

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