Medical Bill Questions

Updated on June 01, 2010
L.Y. asks from Marenisco, MI
7 answers

Hello Mama's,
I need some help trying to figure this medical bill out, or how to deal with it. We have BC/BS of Michigan. It's an individual plan that we pay ALOT for each month but we are self-employed so this is what we get. We can each see a doctor twice a year (this is covered). Tests (blood work, MRI's, EEG, etc) are covered at 70%. If we need to see a doctor a third, fourth, tenth time in the year it is a cash bill for us until we meet our deductible. The year runs Jan to Dec with the plan.

Back in October my son was referred to a pediatric neurologist for possible seizures. Since he had already been to the doctor that year this not covered. It was approximately $550. The EEG was covered and we just had the 30% copay of approx $250. Nothing showed up.

In January he went through the usual sinus infections and strep so there go the two visits. On Feb 28th he had a visible seizure and we went to the doc for a referrel. We went for another EEG and Neuro visit which again was not add on another $550 to the bill and the EEG copay. We ended up in the hospital for a video EEG so now our bill is $2200 but we have now met our deductible. Yay! I had been paying $50 month because that is all I can afford. We own two businesses and this has not been a good year. I explained this to them. I just a collection notice on Saturday! for the $2200! My husband just called and they said that they could set up a plan (the original one was only for 3 months) but we have to pay more than $50so my husband said we could pay $55. They said we have to sign an agreement and they are going to charge 7% interest! and the agreement can't be sent to Michigan (the hospital is in Wisconsin because we aren't near any major facility in Michigan) My thought is that it's illegal to charge interest on a medical bill in MI and that is why they aren't sending to us...we have to sign it at the next appt.

Does anyone know of an agency where I can see if this is even legal? It seems ridiculous! We used to go to the university of Michigan Health just on your interest! My mom has had to go to the Cleveland Clinic (ohio) There is no interest applied to a bill there either! I understand it will take 4 years to pay off the bill and I don't dispute that we owe the $2200 but it's unfair to be charging interest when this wasn't a isn't like i'm buying a car that I can't afford...the child was having seizures!!!! I needed medical care for him!!! I'm considering changing the doctor to one at University of Michigan in January...everything will be covered for the rest of 2010 since we met the deductible.

Any help is appreciated.

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answers from Milwaukee on

We have BC/BS of Texas (through hubby's work) BUT live in Wisconsin...

Check out this website since you said you went to WI: (look at page 5-6)

Do NOT let them push you around... it is in the hospitals best interest to work out a payment plan (whatever it may be) to get the money. Tell them this is what we can afford monthly, and we need to work on something that works with that monthly payment. You will need to prove that you can only afford that amount so have proof by having a finacial statment and other bills (medical and not) you are also paying. Oftentimes patients are unaware of charity care and low-income discount policies of Wisconsin hospitals, ask the hospital about those policies (you may or may not meet the requirements).

Found a few statements in the WI consumer info med_billing fact website:
"Let your hospital or clinic and insurance company know if the cost of a service is more than your insurance will cover. There may be a specific reason your procedure cost more, or it might be a mistake. However, each hospital does charge different fees and this is perfectly legal. If possible, shop around for a medical facility and compare prices just like you do before purchasing other goods and services."

"Depending upon what was agreed to in your original payment contract, the hospital may be able to change your payment amount at any time. If you sincerely can't make a higher payment, discuss it with the medical facility and offer a financial statement as proof."

From what I found YES a hospital in Wisconsin can charge a reasonable interest rate... 7% seems high to me... so maybe try asking for a lower (maybe 3% or 4%) or no interest rate.... DO SIGN UNTIL you find a good/reasonable compromise between you AND the hospital. KEEP ALL records of the bills, e-mails, mailings, voicemails and so on to show you are trying to work with the hospital to get a resonable hospital bill payment plan/contract.

Once it goes to an collection agency you will have to work with them, but as long as you are working with the hospital they should not just push it to an collection agency for awhile. It is in your best intrest to NOT put it on a credit card (because that can hurt your creidt where as a payment plan with a hospital does not hurt your credit).

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Reading on

Each hospital has it's own collection policy. You can call the state insurance board or the medical board or even the better business bureau to help you research the interest on the bill. You can even call legal aide or the your local state representative or state senator with the question. Your state rep or senator are the ones that make the laws, they will know if there is a law in place for that very thing. I hope these help!

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answers from San Antonio on

I had BCBS of Illinios all througout my pregnancy/specialists and c-section. I've never in my life paid so much out of pocket for medical. Deductible are incredibly high and then the co-pays and then on top of that all the stuff that's out of network. I will be paying all my 2009 bills off by 2011! Ridiculous. Just do what you can and unfortunately, then can charge interest.



answers from Davenport on

Hospitals are a business and without charging interest, they would not make any profit. How many businesses do you know of that would allow you to use their services then make monthy payments without interest? It is hard for us to think of it that way because we are talking about our bodies, but that is the truth.



answers from Chicago on

I don't know the legal answers, however I would think just about any office (medical or not) where you don't pay the full bill has the right to charge you interest since you are extending your payments.

I would call the doctors office directly, don't deal with a collection agency. Ask to speak with your doctor. Explain your situation. He can ultimately approve any "adjustments" for you to pay your bill. Explain that you may need to change doctors due to his prices and payment schedule. He may be willing to drop his price (more in line with a "network negotiated rate" that he'd get paid from another insurance company) and reduce or eliminate the interest owed.

I can honestly say that anytime I have questioned my doctors or dentist as to what we have to pay above and beyond what the insurance would cover or what the insurance's in network negotiated rate would have been, they've always been willing to accommodate us.

The bottom line is the doctors want to get their expenses covered, get themselves paid SOMETHING and get their money sooner rather than later.

It's in your doctor's interest to help you, keep you as a patient and get his money.

Plead your case. Lay it out as "here's what's in it for you" if we can bring these fees/rates down...any business person is likely to help you out.



answers from College Station on

I know my doctors dont charge intrest there in Tx. However I would ask them if there was any help available... I mean sometimes people can get a little extra help since I mean you cant pay more then 55 a month. I would call around like to other doctors and ask what they think and if they know of a number you could call and find out if it is leagle...



answers from Washington DC on

The hospital here charges interest. A friend owed around $150, slowly paid it, then stopped paying it and when it went to collections they said she owed $700.

Something that we've done in the past, before we had our own money hardships was if we got a credit card with 0% interest for 12m is to apply for that card and then pay the hospital bill off with that card and then use it for nothing else. The minimum due should be around $55 a month. Its ususally 2-3% of the balance due.


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