Baldies' Blog began originally in the UK by a 26 year old journalist with a blood cancer on a mission to inform the world about bone marrow donation.

He has since died, and I took on the cause of making cancer care more transparent for everybody.

Cancer is a disease that will touch everybody through diagnosis or affiliation: 1 in 2 men will be diagnosed and 1 in 3 woman will hear those words, "You Have Cancer."

I invite you to read how I feel along my journey and
how I am continuing to live a full life alongside my Hodgkin's lymphoma, with me controlling my cancer, not my cancer controlling me.

I hope that "Baldies' Blog" will prepare you to handle whatever life sends you, but especially if it's the message, "You Have Cancer."

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Thursday, August 4, 2011

Medical Bill Collectors: Heartless Money Suckers?

What an evil heartless group of people behind medical bill collecting. 

Thank goodness I have an expert advocate or I would have died from having to encounter the scum of the earth for hours weekly fighting over whether or not I owe what I know I don't owe. 

Really, honestly, I'm not being dramatic here. 

My faith in the goodness of humanity would have been crushed by now from having to deal with them. 

The disability insurance I dealt with finally purged me. We'd been fighting over a monthly payment of $50 and whether or not I was obligated to send in X's sS benefit award letter for years. They wanted to sue me for overpayment to the tune of $25,000. I wanted to continue to get 60% of my base pay income from 2006, a horribly reduced number from lack of overtime, bonuses, and inflation.

 The one bill I've dealt with in years I cried and pulled the hospice card to get out of having it sent to collections. The kicker: Aunt B and I have been in contact with this company since I received bill number one. Even though I am contending the bill, the company continued sending overdue notices. Then at only 60 days past due, I get a certified letter sending the case to claims! The amount in dispute: $311! 

A law needs to be put in to place that if a medical bill is being contended it can not be sent to claims or be used against your credit. I was told, by a banker, that medical debt is not taken into consideration in your credit score. Or was it in securing a loan? I don't remember exactly. 

Anyway...  when I called the company about this I was met with the same story I'd been receiving: "Your insurance covers, blah, blah, they review my benefits, blah, blah, blame on co-insurance." When I remind them the date of service was Nov. 2010 so co-insurance would have been met, they get all tongue twisted.

During todays call, it was then I blurted out I was on hospice and didn't want to deal with things like this and that I didn't understand wny they wouldn't just accept $50 as payment towards the bill to take it out of claims with my voice rising, ready to cry through it all.

Then the person gets semi-human, saying they were just trying to make things as easy as possible for me.

 Of course, everyone knows sending bill collectors like savage dogs after me and sending me to court is the easiest avenue for the payee.

 When I asked if it's still going to claims she begrudgingly muttered "no" like a defeated child asked by their mother if they're ever going to do THAT again after a verbal lashing.

 They certainly don't understand they are ruining one of the last, few precious days that could be spent on earth with loved ones. When someone pictures dying peacefully at home surrounded by loved ones, they don't imagine the phones ringing off the hook with collectors trying to suck the essence away, upsetting and burdening family when the focus should be on supporting one another.

 If you manage to survive, It's tiresome to go from insurance company to care agency to hospital trying to untangle a mess. It's a part time job. It's beyond the disabled capabilities. The process beats you down worse than the illness itself. It makes you feel like you're monopolizing resources you are not entitled to. It makes me feel like i should just die instead of sucking resources. 

I don't know where the thousands of dollars taken to pay just to have insurance goes. I do know some of what it buys, I'm lucky to have any. I'm even luckier to have an advocate and husband who've been able to shield and shelter me from this inhumane practice while I fight my disease. 

It's known the uninsured have lower survival rates, but how does being underinsured effect survival rates or quality of life? If the answer was up to me I'd say being underinsured is a killer equal or greater than being uninsured and medical bill collectors are heartless money suckers.


... said...

I have to say, Been there, done that!! Some were fabulous, others fantastic, and I have to say, it was those who were BILLING insurance who were worse than insurance! In general, my insurance was fabulous, though we did have to work through some things. They did come through. Some billers refused to try and work with insurance to straighten things out, and that was much more frustrating. Yes, they sent contested bills to collections as well, and then refused to help because the bills were no longer in their control. Then they refused to give me any information because I wasn't the patient, but the patient they wanted me to pay for was deceased and couldn't ask for the information. I utterly refused to cooperate in any way until they provided the information and help. They grudgingly provided the info, and I was left to work things out with insurance, who by the way, did exactly what they were supposed to do. It was the BILLING departments that refused to help. AETNA is great insurance. Glad you have people around you who will fight those battles for you, because they practically put me in the hospital! So glad you are still writing. I check your blog almost daily to see how you are doing. Take care.

Loraine Ritchey said...

Hillary I have re posted your "Cancer Meanie" post on my blog

and also linked to this post- bless you brave and wonderful heart Loraine

jalicyjatco said...

They did appear through. Some billers banned to try and plan with allowance to align things out, and that was abundant added frustrating.

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Chloe Wallace said...

Yeah. Thank goodness that we have medical billing companies that help us with our bills. With their billing software and billing experts, we are ensured that every cent that we pay in our bill are worthy.

Hailey Andersen said...

I had a similar dilemma with my medical expenses. I wound up opting for a cash for lump sum plan so I could keep the collectors at bay.

Ruth James said...

It feels terrible to be caught in these traps. Luckily there are medical billing companies that can help when you are in desperate need of assistance. They will help you out more than you can imagine!