As with any accident which results in an emergency room visit, I knew I'd be getting bills in the mail. The fact that I received one only two weeks after my daughter was seen very much surprised me. As far as medical billing is concerned, that is QUICK. I opened the bill and nearly laughed.
$490. Please pay now.
I thought to myself, OH HECKZ TO THE NO. I don't think so, homeskillet. So I called the medical billing agency to find out why the bill was so high. And, why they got it to me so quickly.
Here is the deal in Florida, in case any of my local bloggy friends are ever in an accident. Florida is a no fault state, which means that no matter who is at fault in the accident (in this case, I was already found at fault... sigh), the person's own auto insurance pays for the first 80% of all bills, up to a limit of $10,000. Then, your own health insurance, if you have any, will kick in for the additional 20%. For the lady and her family who was injured in the crash, she has the right to sue my insurance to pay for her remaining 20% which is due, and rightfully so. I already happen to know she is suing me, but that is another story entirely.
Anyway, I should not be receiving any bills. Not one. 80% + 20% = 100% = why are you sending me a bill.
So I left a message for the billing company. They called me back after two days. They are claiming they didn't know it was an auto accident, and didn't know I had any insurance, even though I had all this information with me at the hospital and had to show it to the financial people several times. In fact, while my daughter was being treated, they pulled me away a few times to ask me the same questions over and over: "Is this auto? Who's your auto insurance? Were you at fault? Who's your regular health insurance?" And considering that not only this is my third car accident in Florida, and that I DO MEDICAL CODING AND BILLING FOR A LIVING, I not only had all this info on me, but I knew it in my head by heart and gave it to them. Several times. All so they could send me a bill stating that they had no idea which insurance I had.
I think I know why.
I believe that they are hoping, that either in my grief, stupidity, or just lack of knowledge, that I will just pay the $490 and they don't have to bother dealing with insurance. Insurance takes forever, they review stuff, and that means hospitals are without their money while they wait. However, if you bill people and they don't know their rights, or insurance laws, or even how insurance works, many will just pay the bill. Just to get it out of the way. Ha...not me.
So, for the millionth time, I gave the billing rep the claim number, my claim adjuster, my policy number, and the phone number and address to my auto insurance. Then I gave, again, my medical insurance policy number, the group number, the phone number, and the address. I made her repeat it. Then I asked her to send me a bill with a 0 balance so I could file it.
I know these bills are scary, and confusing, and these people will hound the crap out of you for their money. If you owe money, you should absolutely pay your bills. However, we pay insurance, both health and auto, for this reason exactly. In the case of an accident, no matter who is at fault, your medical bills should be taken care of for a limit of up to $10,000 in the state of Florida. Don't let all the phone calls and paperwork scare you. Get a folder. Keep everything in the folder. Keep a log of who calls you with their name, phone number, name of company, and what they want, with a time and date. Be organized in the time of crisis. You're still going to have a crisis, believe me, but the less stress you have, the better.