Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Where oh where are the payment checks going?

This morning I am engaged in the other must for cancer patients, besides chemotherapy and recovery - on the phone with the insurance company. I am on hold with Aetna who is calling Georgetown Hospital to talk about why they are sending me letters saying they have not been paid, when Aetna sent them checks in August. This is not exactly how I want to spend my morning, but I am at least happy that Aetna is willing to advocate for me and call the hospital. I talked to billing last week and they started in on me to get copies of the checks that Aetna sent and fax them in, etc. Um. I am on chemo. I really don't think I should have to spend my time gophering between the hospital and the insurance company. Call me lazy, but I just don't feel like it. So Aetna is handling things, I hope. I hope she comes back on the line to tell me it is taken care of.

I have had such trouble with Georgetown Hospital billing people. First, they decided to kick me out of their lab, even though they take my insurance, then they sent me letters saying they haven't been paid and now , once they let me back into their lab, they had the gall to ask me for a $25 co-pay for lab services yesterday. I don't have a co-pay for lab services. Never have. I asked Aetna to double check and they said no, there is no $25 co-pay for lab services. I think Georgetown is just trying to get some money out of me. They are tired of the pitiful reimbursements they are getting from Aetna - example $72 for a $460 bill, and they want to fool me into paying them a $25 bonus each time.

The lady at the Georgetown desk is really nice and has gotten to know me a little and she confusedly asked me for the co-pay, saying "Hon, there's a memo in the computer that says I am supposed to collect this co-pay." And when I said "nuh uh" she smiled and put another memo in the computer that said "Patient said there is no co-pay." So next time, I will get Aetna on the phone right there and have them talk to the billing office and put the smack down.

Ok, well the Aetna lady said that Georgetown has 'found' two of the three missing payments and has put a search out for the third. How interesting that when I call, they want me to run around getting proof of payment paperwork and canceled checks, but when Aetna calls, they simply 'find' the payments. Convenient.

And I should say that the people we are calling are not actually in Georgetown. Of course not, that would be too easy. They are at some corporate HCA facility somewhere in 866 world. HCA owns Georgetown so it is actually them sending me the letters. I don't know who the $25 memo culprit is. But I suspect if Georgetown were actually sent the checks and did their own billing, perhaps they wouldn't lose things as important as measly payment checks.

Sigh. Healthcare bureaucracy is about as fun as chemo.


Anonymous said...

Yeah, you should always just tell the insurance company to deal with it. That's what they get paid for. They have two reasons to exist. To pool premiums, and to make sure that checks get sent to the proper places. Period.

I've learned to keep a low deductible on my car insurance for this very reason. I just pay it and tell the insurance to take care of it. The last time my car was totaled I got a check the next day. I got a letter a year and a half later letting me know they'd finally gotten paid by the other insurance company.

Ronni said...

I hate the paperwork

Like When Jim died, his insurance company sent me a letter THE NEXT DAY telling me that my coverage would end in 10 days, but, if I wanted, I could have 5 sessions of counselling free, as long as I could fit them in (in 10 days.)