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(Minnesota Public Radio)   Need your car repaired? Get an estimate. Need your roof replaced? Get an estimate. Need your hip replaced? Good luck getting an estimate...or even a ballpark figure   (minnesota.publicradio.org) divider line 3
    More: Fail, car repairs, good lucks, ballpark estimate, American Hospital Association, Chicago Board of Trade, Loyola University Medical Center  
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3852 clicks; posted to Main » on 12 Feb 2013 at 10:48 AM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-02-12 04:31:54 PM  
1 votes:

dj245: As someone who has been dealing with some high (but not obscene) medical bills for the last year, my advice is stall, stall, stall.  Ask for an itemized hospital bill.  When they send the next bill the next month, say you didn't get the itemized bill and ask if they could kindly send it again.  If anything at all looks incorrect or you have any suspicions about any particular line items, send them a letter with cc to your insurance company (if you have one) asking to be explained the charges.  Usually their explanation is not very good so you can keep that line of stalling going for months.  Then when they resolve some line item to your satisfaction, question another one.  Do all correspondence by USPS so it takes forever for correspondence to go back and forth.

If they have spelled your name wrong, send them a letter that nobody of that name lives at your address (This happened to me and caused the hospital all sorts of confusion).  If they are ready to send you to collections they will let you know very clearly.  Keep it polite but play dumb and keep stalling.  If your bill is big (and it sounds like it is) there are probably plenty of line items to ask for clarification on, explanations for, etc.  Eventually they might get tired of dealing with you and reduce the bill.  In the meantime you can save some money to pay them, if you are planning to do so.


I successfully stalled for over a year on my son's delivery bills with no consequence. One of the providers got sick of dealing with me over a relatively small bill and just gave up with no collections process.  The other agreed to a payment plan with very generous terms that were not available when I started toying with them.  It was well worth the $20 or so in postage that it took.


Thanks for the tip! I don't have insurance, and to make matters even worse, the restaurant I worked in for nearly a decade closed when the absentee owner realized he'd not get rich as he wanted with it, so I am currently unemployed. My sister worked at the same restaurant (she was lead waitstaff and I was chef de cuisine), but I saved money, she did not. I'm carrying us both as far as expenses go right now, but seeing my bank statements (which is one of the things the hospital financial/charity department people wanted to see) seems to have made the situation somewhat worse because of those savings. They've pointed out that I have the money to make a significant down payment, I've pointed out I'm supporting myself and one other person with no job and no immediate prospects at this time. We're at a bit of a standoff right now, and if I start questioning charges, one by one, by the time they get really upset, my savings may have dwindled to the point that I will "qualify" for the help and some sort of payment plan deal similar to what you got.

I do think everyone deserves to be paid for their work and paid a fair wage, so the bills will be paid, it just may take a while. Stalling is most likely my best option. I didn't even think of that tactic, but then again, I am on a lot of medication right now. lol!

Thanks for giving me a new plan! I'll have to send off a politely typed letter asking for a fully itemized bill in tomorrow's mail run. I got some stuff listed separately as apparently blood, lab work done in hospital (they got subcontractors back there or something?) and a few other things are itemized, but the rest is very vague and obviously it is not a fully itemized bill. One at a time, though, just like you said. I hope it works as well for me as it did for you.
/first question after I get the fully itemized bill would be why I required 8 bags of blood
//then I can ask for all lab results
///and question those in relation to my treatment, one at a time...
2013-02-12 03:19:34 PM  
1 votes:

Real Women Drink Akvavit: The My Little Pony Killer: Real Women Drink Akvavit: I'm getting bills from when I was in the hospital last month, so I have a very good idea what is charged for hospitalization, ambulance rides, blood transfusions, etc at that particular hospital. I had told my mother repeatedly that if something ever happened, to make sure I went to the Catholic hospital, because "good works" and all that, and they'll get their charity department (or whatever) to help the uninsured. She had me taken to the expensive hospital instead (I was unconscious and therefore had no say in the matter). I'm just putting the bills on her bill pile when I get them. This displeases her greatly. None of those bills are getting paid at this point as we keep ping-ponging the bills between us. She says I'm responsible for my own hospital bills and I say she's responsible for the poor choice she made in ignoring my well known wishes. In any event, if anyone ever needs to know what a blood transfusion costs, I can let you know that they're farkin' expensive.

/that better have been some rich person's blood

You should have gotten your deal in writing.  Your mom is not the one who is going to be sent to collections.

/and aren't you an adult?

Yup. I'm in my 40's. However, my mother and I are the primary caregivers for my grandmother with my sister and adult son as our backups. There are only five us in my family that live in the US, and we all gave up our own places to move in together and take care of grandma. The good part of this is my grandma is taken care of much better than she would have been if she'd stayed in Norway, because instead of being dumped in a home by my very unpleasant uncle, she's got the good bits of her family to care for her. The bad part of this is that someone will feel the need to get in your business from time to time, and this includes disregarding your express wishes when it comes to medical care.

I'm going through the process of getting some sort o ...


As someone who has been dealing with some high (but not obscene) medical bills for the last year, my advice is stall, stall, stall.  Ask for an itemized hospital bill.  When they send the next bill the next month, say you didn't get the itemized bill and ask if they could kindly send it again.  If anything at all looks incorrect or you have any suspicions about any particular line items, send them a letter with cc to your insurance company (if you have one) asking to be explained the charges.  Usually their explanation is not very good so you can keep that line of stalling going for months.  Then when they resolve some line item to your satisfaction, question another one.  Do all correspondence by USPS so it takes forever for correspondence to go back and forth.

If they have spelled your name wrong, send them a letter that nobody of that name lives at your address (This happened to me and caused the hospital all sorts of confusion).  If they are ready to send you to collections they will let you know very clearly.  Keep it polite but play dumb and keep stalling.  If your bill is big (and it sounds like it is) there are probably plenty of line items to ask for clarification on, explanations for, etc.  Eventually they might get tired of dealing with you and reduce the bill.  In the meantime you can save some money to pay them, if you are planning to do so.


I successfully stalled for over a year on my son's delivery bills with no consequence. One of the providers got sick of dealing with me over a relatively small bill and just gave up with no collections process.  The other agreed to a payment plan with very generous terms that were not available when I started toying with them.  It was well worth the $20 or so in postage that it took.
2013-02-12 11:28:25 AM  
1 votes:

Real Women Drink Akvavit: I'm getting bills from when I was in the hospital last month, so I have a very good idea what is charged for hospitalization, ambulance rides, blood transfusions, etc at that particular hospital. I had told my mother repeatedly that if something ever happened, to make sure I went to the Catholic hospital, because "good works" and all that, and they'll get their charity department (or whatever) to help the uninsured. She had me taken to the expensive hospital instead (I was unconscious and therefore had no say in the matter). I'm just putting the bills on her bill pile when I get them. This displeases her greatly. None of those bills are getting paid at this point as we keep ping-ponging the bills between us. She says I'm responsible for my own hospital bills and I say she's responsible for the poor choice she made in ignoring my well known wishes. In any event, if anyone ever needs to know what a blood transfusion costs, I can let you know that they're farkin' expensive.

/that better have been some rich person's blood


Hah!  Joke's on you!  It was Bloodweiser from a can.
 
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