Tuesday, November 8, 2011

You Know You Spend Too Much Time Dealing With Medical Billing When...

Due to all my health issues, I am currently averaging about two doctor's appointments per week. This is actually an improvement from the 4/week I had all summer. Most of my doctors are at least 35 minutes away, one way. Add on to that the wait time and the time with the doctor, and you have a pretty significant time investment just to keep my appointments.

Because of all this, I receive innumerable EOBs (Estimates of Benefits) and charges from doctors. Recently, it's been almost humorous - in the past several weeks, not a SINGLE ONE of these has been correct. I've been billed for services on dates when I was NOT receiving services. I've been billed for services that I never received. I've been billed for office visits that were coded incorrectly and should have been free of charge because they were post-op visits. Three offices continue to bill my old insurance carrier, although I've called each office at least twice (beginning in August) to give them my new insurance information. I've been denied coverage of a new medication after 2 hours and 4 calls back and forth from the insurance carrier and the pharmacy carrier (one insists that it is covered, the other insists that it's not, but both refuse to talk to the other). I've been billed twice for labs that had to be redone because the hospital lost the first batch. I've been denied coverage for certain doctors because they are in association with a hospital, and so my insurance treats an office visit with these providers as an Emergency Room stay and refuses to cover them. And it goes on and on.

Each one of these mistakes represents an inordinate amount of time that must be spent on the phone and organizing papers. I spend at least an additional hour or two PER DAY on the phone dealing with doctor's offices, billing offices, pharmacies, and insurance companies. It's really a full time job! I am so thankful and blessed that my parents took care of the majority of this type of business when I was very sick. It was a burden I could not have borne.

So, You Know You Spend Too Much Time Dealing With Medical Billing When...
  • You find yourself humming the insurance companies "'hold" song because it's stuck in your head
  • You have your insurance ID Number and Group Number memorized.
  • You understand ICD-9 codes, 5-digit procedure codes, and you know and can explain laboratory billing procedure in the state of Texas to insurance reps.
  • You start recognizing the name and voices of the Customer Service reps for your insurance company
  • You are on a first-name basis with the billing department of two hospitals and a doctor's office
  • You use your insurance card more than your debit card
Hannah ;)

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