Thursday, November 3, 2011

30 Days of Giving Thanks - Day 3 - The Hospital Billing Department

About two years ago (on November 20th), Sophia had an emergency appendectomy. Her appendix was about four times the size of a normal appendix. Had it not been removed in the morning when it was, most likely it would have ruptured by that afternoon.

Sophia's Hand with IV
Sophia's IV after surgery.

Having individual/personal health care insurance and a very high deductible ($10,000 per person per year) means that the majority of medical expenses come out of pocket. The days of $15 doctor appointments...gone.  Medical procedures under $100...gone.

The cost of a CT scan, surgery, and overnight recovery in the hospital was staggering. Needless to say, having that level of discretionary income available to pay the bill wasn't an option.

The hospital billing/accounts receivable department asked if I could make a payment at a level which would pay in full the bill within six months. I believe I laughed aloud when she told me the amount that the payment would be each month. "I could only wish I'd have that much extra money each month."

"How about $100 less than that?" she asked.

"Keep going down," I said. After a bit she asked what I could afford. When she realized that it would be substantially less than what the hospital normally receives and would stretch a little over two years, yet it was the only option, she and I agreed with the arrangement.

Today, I called to thank her and the hospital for being so generous - for both extending the time and greatly lowering the monthly amount I needed to pay. Without their understanding and compassion, the monthly payments would have greatly (and negatively) affected how we would have lived and survived.

She was surprised at being thanked, and said that they are always happy to be able to help people given that health care these days isn't what it use to be. Many families are struggling with high deductibles - anywhere from $1,000 to $10,000 per our family's deductible level is on the high side.

I am looking forward to making the last two payments on the CT scan and surgery expenses in December and January. It will be such a relief and burden lifted.

Collecting Dandelions
Sophia collecting dandelions during the summer.

Thankfully, Sophia is doing much better now. There were no complications from the surgery and she has not had any major medical problems since then. For this...I am truly thankful as well.


What Remains Now said...

Ann...thank you for visiting my blog. The fact that you have included this on your list of "Things to Give Thanks For" speaks volumes about your spirit. It's very humbling to read your words.

La Chili said...

I don't visit often, but I did today, and I'm happy for how things came out.
Thank you for sharing.

Kelly said...

Congratulations on soon being done with that financial burden. It is refreshing to hear positive resolutions to such financial challenges. Your daughter is lovely!