Unjust Medical Bills Create an Unnecessary Burden for Patients
When someone in your family has an illness, it can cause physical wear and generate an emotional and financial burden. The person who gets sick often loses their income but must pay medical bills in addition to regular bills. Even after being discharged from the hospital, a patient will need follow-up appointments and have to deal with health insurance and medical provider issues.
This was my case. When I got sick, my entire life changed. I lost my income because I lost my job. But my regular bills didn’t stop coming. I was not only receiving regular bills but also medicals bills. Every time my husband went to pick up the mail, the majority of it was medical bills.
In addition to dealing with the stress of all those bills, I had to deal with the unfairness. For example, while I was admitted to a hospital in Miami, I received a $2,000 bill from a general medicine doctor that the hospital had assigned to me. Initially, they billed me for $5,000, but my insurance paid $3,000. This was an out-of-network doctor working in a hospital in my network.
When the doctor visited me, they didn’t even examine me. I brought up a lot of issues that never were addressed. I don’t understand why a hospital would hire doctors who are out-of-network. This decision caused me extra stress.
I could accept it if the doctor specialized in my rare medical condition. For instance, I would pay for my current neurologist out of pocket if he didn’t accept my insurance. He is highly qualified and one of the leading researchers worldwide in neuromyelitis optica (NMO).
In this case, it would be my choice to pay that money and it would be worth it. But in the case of the doctor that the hospital allocated to me, I believe it was unnecessary and unjustified. Any other general medicine doctor could have done the same job without creating the burden of a giant medical bill for me.
I could accept this bill if this general medicine doctor had been working in the emergency room. In that situation, I might not have had a choice. However, the doctor was assigned to me while I was admitted to the hospital.
When that happened, I didn’t have the health to fight back, and I paid every medical bill without hesitation. I don’t think that many patients and caregivers have the time or energy to deal with errors or unfairness in their medicals bills. Most people just pay the bills without thinking twice. Some patients and caregivers don’t know that there are financial resources available to help them pay those bills.
Now that I have more energy and health, I am overly cautious with every medical bill I receive. I look for the itemized description on every bill, and I compare it with my insurance account online. Since I have been doing that, I have found irregularities, such as bills that providers never submitted to insurance, or duplicated home deliveries of medical supplies I don’t need.
No health system is perfect. The United States is the fourth country I have lived in, and I believe it has the best health system by far. I’ve never been without the available treatments, and I am incredibly grateful for that.
Unfortunately, like everyone else, during my journey as a patient I’ve received unjustified medicals bills as a product of intentional or unintentional human error. This creates extra, unnecessary stress for patients. It is up to me to pay attention to my medicals bill and to pay what is right, and no more.
Note: Neuromyelitis News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Neuromyelitis News or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder.