One of the early lessons DR teaches is that couples MUST communicate about their finances. This is so true, and it wasn’t until dh and I started REALLY communicated with each other AND ds, who lives here, about our finances we actually made progress on getting debt free.
We went from me spending money on taking care of dmil without consulting with dh or ds to take care of her and putting us further and further in debt doing so. To a complete and screeching halt of that and discussing finances open and frankly that we climbed out of the massive consumer debt we (I) had acquired in an effort to “handle” things.
Once we were out of debt, except for the mortgages—still plugging away on those down to under $50,000 now—we continued to communicate and it is a very good thing we did.
Yesterday dh went back to the urologist for post-op and to discuss the mass the ct scan showed in his abdomen in January with the doctor. Before he was allowed to see the doctor he was sent to the business office like a naughty boy being sent to the principal’s office.
Once there he was informed we were over $1,800 past due on his first encounter with the doctor back in the hospital in January and that we owed that and much more and they needed an immediate payment of a minimum of $2,000 or he couldn’t see the doctor.
However, because I am a math nerd AND we had discussed the bill situation with this doctor—long complicated and a complete comedy of errors on their billing—he KNEW that our total was right at the $1,800 mark period, he knew that we had yet to receive a single CORRECT bill from them and they had only JUST filed insurance so there was no way they could know how much we actually owed them. Plus the fact it had only been 60 days from that first visit and therefore we could not be 90 days past due.
He calmly told the gal he would make his office co-pay, which he had already done, but he would not be paying one penny more until they sent us a detailed complete and CORRECT bill. He also told her if she had any further questions to call me and I would explain to them about our actual liability and their poor billing practices. He saw the doctor, ct scan with contrast will be in about 2 weeks.
He then called me and brought me up to speed on what had happened and I tried calling the business office, but they had already left for the day, 45 minutes early (gee no wonder they don’t get their insurance filed properly).
This morning the gal called me all ready to politely argue with me about the bill and how much we owed. Because dh had warned me of what she was saying I was ready with the single bill they had sent us for $143 when they actually owed us $17.37 at that point, my spreadsheet of what BCBS had paid, what we had paid and a determination to be nice but firm.
She started out the way she had with him, but screeched to a halt when I told her we needed to take the billing step by step, visit by visit. We worked our way through it all and guess what, we are not past due, because we have yet to receive a correct bill, they do not need a payment until around May sometime (they are in the budget to be paid in full May 27th and the woman is now making an apology tour.
Had dh not been up to date on the overcharging of deductible, the erroneous billing with this doctor (they actually at one point returned a payment to BCBS for money I had paid on an outpatient procedure that had not happened yet—figure out the logic in that one—I paid co-pay and they sent it to the insurance company instead of applying it to the bill) and then informed me exactly what she had said to him yesterday the outcome could have been far worse. We will pay the actual amount due, which after we went through it all we came within $2 of each other (I was higher) and be very thankful the kidney stones are gone, $1800 is a cheap price for good health.
The reason I wrote this is to stress to everyone to, like DR, that communication is very important to getting and staying debt free.