I didn’t know there would be a “Part 2” at the time I wrote the first one, so this will serve as an update, and a sort of small rant.
Back in July, we started receiving bills for the emergency surgery I had in May. So first, it took over a month for the bills to even start arriving. Then, after a few smaller bills came in (about $50 to $130 each), we got the largest bill for the actual overnight hospital stay at around $4,000 (we only ended up paying $3,200). Well, I didn’t feel in a good enough psychological place with everything that had happened to try and argue through the layers of beaurocracy that is the modern US medical system/insurance, so we went ahead and just paid all the bills. Since the hospital bill covered emergency surgery, the overnight stay, and materials (four bags of blood, pain killers, and fluids), we thought that would be the end of it.
It turns out that the medical system is far more complex than that. This week, we received further bills totalling nearly $1,000 from people we’ve never heard of, providing services that are not broken down any further than “treatment.” To add insult to injury, several of the bills note that their services, whatever those services are, were not covered under my insurance meaning I will be stuck with the full cost of their care. To be clear, I have no idea what that care was.
So now, I really will have to do some investigative work, and probably end up arguing with the hospital, insurance companies, and these various service providers so that we can drill down to what was provided, was should be covered, and what we’ll need to pay out of pocket. Noone has websites that adequately break down the bills, and the insurance company’s website is so useless I wonder why they bothered in the first place.
The rant is that it really shouldn’t be this complicated. Why in the world wouldn’t the under service providers bill the hospital for services, and the hospital bill me/my insurance, the same way any other contractor/sub relationship works? And why are they making their bills so opaque that it begins to feel like I’m getting scammed for spending a night in the hospital for an emergency? There really doesn’t seem to be any good reason for organizing the system this way. It’s expensive, time-consuming, and wasteful.
Fortunately, because we set aside so much money last month, we’ll be able to cover the bills, and still continue to build up our savings for the move in a couple of months, and get back on track (mostly) by next month. It’s just yet another frustration from the whole process.