Saturday, January 24, 2015

Keeping a watchful eye on my financials

Image: http://highrisk-merchantaccount.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/credit-card-chargeback-woman.jpg


My credit card payment (which I pay off in full every month)comes due the 17th of the month. I actually mark my calendar to ensure that I make my electronic payment. Since my CC is through my bank, I can easily transfer the amount immediately, saving me time-great.

A few days ago, I went on line to check my financials (checking, savings and CC) and noted that I was being charged a late fee for the Jan 17th payment, as well as 2 different types of interest charges to the tune of almost $50! I double checked my checking account, and yes, the immediate transfer was made and went through on the 17th, yet the CC statement was showing a posting for the 20th-Hmmm . . .  so a call was made. Apparently, this was an "internal error" that my bank was aware of and although they had supposedly tried to catch everyone who was effected on the 17th, I was one of many who slipped through the cracks. Appologies made, and a full credit of all erroneous charges has been made to my CC billing statement for Feb 17th.

Image: http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/sebin/r/x/BillingInsurance.jpg

I've also been dealing for months with multiple billing errors on the part of the local hospital. I actually have a file folder labeled "X Hospital billing issues."  I have followed the usual chain of command: first alerting the hospital liaison to the issues, providing documentation, then calling the Financial Affairs office on a monthly basis again alterting them to the errors and again asking that they please correct their records and send me a correct bill, which I am prepared to pay off immediately, in full. Fast forward, they sent me to collections! @@ So, I called collections, told them the situation. I was asked to and did Fax over all of the documentation I have twice now, provided the hospital (note that the hospital can also access my EOB's thru the insurance website). I have a FAX confirmation number, so I called a few days later, to speak with the person who is handling my "case" and she was out sick, the person taking the call couldn't help (I just wanted verbal confirmation that the paperwork Fax was received). This is not the first time that this has happened with this hospital.What really gets me is that I worked very hard to maintain my awesome, personal credit score-even through a divorce, which is highly unusual. I anticipate purchasing a home in 18 months-no dings on the credit score please! I already told the collections person that I expect that anything on my credit score report will be expunged immediately. This is all due to the hopsital's repeated errors and incompetance on their part-just how difficult is it to update actual patient financial obligation in a **** computer? When I was speaking with the collections person, she also mentioned that they did an audit, and unearthed some additional charges stemming from 2011-huh? I KNOW that this is also erroneous. I do not have these records but have reached out to someone who may. The liaison at the hospital suggeseted, on the QT, that I call Finaicial Affairs again, and ask to speak with the supervisor, and politely threaten that if this is not resolved by X date, my attorney will be contacted, and the hospital will be billed for his $$$ services. Unbelieveable.
Image: http://sentinelmouthguards.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/night-8.jpg

A final medical billing issue: 3 of us this past year received either night bite guards or retainer bite guards through our orthodontist. 2 were submitted to insurance, and insurance paid approx 50%, I paid the balance, after taking into consideration the discounted rate thru the provider. OK. One kidlet's charges kept getting submitted under my name as a charge from me, when HE was the one getting the appliance. A claim was submitted FOUR times. Sigh. At our last orthodontist visit, I was told that there was a $20 balance on my appliance (long ago paid off I thought) and kidlets was just processsed, do I want to pay that off as well? OK, I pay off mine, the extra $20 and the kidlet's. I also paid off the one that kept getting bounced around by insurance, and the newly submitted claim indicated to reimburse me instead of the orthodontist practice-fine. OK, finally got the claim for the 3rd appliance processed through insurance, and guess what? They charged me the full, not the discounted rate! So now I have to bring my paperwork for all 3 claims (which the orthodontist should be able to access) and demand a refund for all 3 overcharges. The bottom of the EOB clearly states that the charges were processed at the provider's discounted rate and the patient is not to be charged for the difference.  Another $80 I believe (have to dig through my paperwork). Sigh.

Bottom line-watch all charges, know your financial obligations and stick to your guns! Document everything to make your life easier.

8 comments:

SAK said...

I feel your pain. We moved last year - dealing with apartment on final bill and supposed damage issues that can't be documented. Sent to collections as well which I am having to deal with and threaten to make sure my credit report is undamaged by their idiocy. Great job catching things and good luck on getting it all resolved. Hospitals are the worst - they know the paperwork is confusing and that their is tons of it - so they hope people just pay and not look closely (many do).

Baroness Prudent Spending said...

Good for you Carol! You absolutely have to stay on top of these things. But medical errors are the absolute worst. You have to keep jumping through hoops to find someone who can help you. ~ Pru

CTMOM said...

Pru, what gets me is the repeated incompetance! I have submitted the verification paperwork, which the hospital can also access-still, I am receiving monthly, erroneous statments and the icing on the cake was sending it over to collections. I will call the hospital's financial services dept on Mon, get the name of a supervisor and demand an appointment in person. I am beyond fed up with them. Adding in charges from 2011? so strange. I am 100% certain that those were paid in full. Again, I have someone looking into it, I can't elaborate more than that. Just burns me. I understand that many are behind on medical bills. The erroneous billing is for 2 time periods this past year when I knew that we would incur debt, I had a plan to address it and am prepared to pay it all off in full. Please be so kind as to charge me the appropriate amount! I asked about paying that, and was told by 2 hospital reps that I can't-it has to be the amount on their computer screen or it screws things up. Um-they are already screwed up! Grrr

Belinda said...

I used to work in medical billing in a hospital and they won't need to access your EOB's thru the insurance website as the Insurance co sends them detailed logs of what is paid. If you can get the right person at the hospital to help you they should be able to fix everything immediately. When I worked I had coworkers who would hide work in the shredder piles though, so it really depends on if you get the right person to help you or not. It's such a shame that some people don't take more pride in their work and try to do the best job they can and you wouldn't have to be handling these things more than once, or even twice is understandable. I wish you the best of luck getting these straightened out. Stick to your guns is right! :)

CTMOM said...

Belinda
A Hospital liaison is the one who told me that if for some reason the employee had to verify the amount owed from an ins claim and the info was "missing" they are able to go to the ins website and upload the original claim's EOB and see what is what. This really isn't all that complicated. Sigh. I can see why many/some simply pay whatever and move on. Then there is the matter of supposedly "finding" outstanding bills from the end of 2011-4 years later? HUH?

Belinda said...

On those outstanding bills, I would make them give you an itemized statement of those bills from the dates of service and then request an EOB from your insurance company for the same dates. Then you can compare both and you probably wouldn't have any problem finding your payment to them. I think it's laughable that they are trying to bill you for something this old because you are so diligent in your financial dealings.

CTMOM said...

Belinda, I assume that you are referencing the 2011 outstanding bills that I just was told about. Just weird. I have full documention on the more current bills from 2014-no issue there. I have a communication in to someone who was handling all of this for me, long story short, (from 2011) so I await a response. Meanwhile, I will speak with a supervisor in person.

Belinda said...

Yes, I was referring to the 2011 bill if your calls are not fruitful.