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There are two offices we've been trying to get to bill our insurance correctly ever since Enoch was born. The difference between the two of them is amazing. Both bill very infrequently-I've received maybe three bills from each in all this time. Each time I have and have seen there was a problem, I call them up and correct them. The pediatrician's accepts the corrections and goes on their merry way and is very sympathetic. I think we've finally gotten everything straightened out with them, so hopefully they'll be paid very soon.

The audiologist's is a different story. I've called them up each time-the latest was just last month when I received another bill from them. I corrected them once again, they indicated they would rebill, etc, etc. I received an EOB from my insurance (which is a first, I believe, as they'd never billed correctly before!), they said it wasn't a covered service, so I planned on paying next time I got a bill since now we knew.

Instead? A week ago last Friday, Eric got a letter from collections dated November 15th (no, I don't know why it took us over a week to receive it since the office in question is approximately two miles away by road, less as the crow flies, and inter-state mailings in Utah are fast). After so many problems with our dental insurance, dealing with insurance is something that fills me with dread, and I wasn't able to work myself up to it until yesterday (for some reason, I'm better able to handle things I dread when I've woken up early and can't get back to sleep).

The woman I talked to on the phone wasn't very helpful, but from talking to her, I found out they hadn't even heard back from our insurance until the 26th of November. You know, at least eleven days after they'd sent us to collections. Naturally, this is infuriating, but she claimed no one in the office currently could help me and to call back at 1:00. When I called back about 2:45, I'd apparently missed the very short window the office manager was actually, you know, in the office, and I resigned myself.

Today, I decided to give it another go, however, and I got the lady, who was very stubborn and would not admit to the office making a mistake. She saw the fact that they sent me to collections before they even heard back from the insurance as irrelevent since they wouldn't pay anyway. My pointing out that there was no way we could have known before then that they wouldn't pay fell on deaf ears. She insisted it was my fault, my responsibility because they bill insurance as "a courtesy." She said I should have billed the insurance myself, which just proves she's an idiot as well as incompetent, because hello! You can't bill insurance companies without procedure codes which someone outside the office would not have.

I said I was willing to pay the actual bill but not the extra collections fee, since that was because of their mistakes. She said she didn't view it as their mistake because the account had been opened so long. I pointed out that I'd worked in medical billing before (sort of-I did the front end of calling the insurances and stuff, but I didn't tell her that part). She asked rather nastily if we would have let an account go for eight months without sending them to collections. I quite honestly said no, especially not if the patient had been in contact with us, which I had been. Dr. Bowden hated collections agencies and if I remember right, had given them up altogether by the time I worked there. He'd occasionally take a patient to small claims court, but even that was rare.

We went round and round in circles. Finally I insisted on speaking to someone above her. She said there was no one. I noted that she wasn't self-employed, she obviously had a boss. She declared that she wasn't going to hand him the phone to be abused the way I'd been abusing her. What the heck? I hadn't called her names (I save that for LJ ;) or sworn at her or whatever. I pointed that since I hadn't been doing those things, I obviously wasn't abusing her. We went round some more, I insisted some more, and finally she put me on hold. When she came back, she asked for my credit card information and said I was just being charged the $79.00. Whoo!

I'm going to be watching carefully to make sure that's all I get charged (otherwise, credit card dispute, here we come!), but it looks like my persistence won.

October 2012

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