Update from yesterday

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Aurora60
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Date Joined Jul 2006
Total Posts : 1249
   Posted 7/21/2009 3:06 PM (GMT -7)   
I was feeling so much better yesterday and it seems like it is all disappearing today.  I had 3 long conversations with my medical billing office.  They have me on a payment plan and won't reduce it even though all I have is a SSI check.  I have "too much money" because I own a house.  Well, I can't sell the house or even borrow on it.  They do not understand when people just don't have the money to pay these bills.  I end up putting too much on credit cards just to get all these bills paid.  I owe the hospital, the medical group and my PCP.  All on payment plans.  I am so discouraged.  I don't want to run up any more bills but I can't help that I keep getting sick.  What am I supposed to do?  I already skipped my June appts. with my 2 oncologists because I couldn't afford to run up the bills any higher.  What happens if you don't send the full amount?  Will they send you to a collection agency even if you are paying something?  I could survive financially if Ididn't have to keep going to the dr. This is truly getting my down just when I was feeling better.  These clerks who work in billing offices can't understand or offer any help.  And they are people who have little education.  They just were lucky to land a job.  I have so many skills and I can't even get the most basic job.  I am so discouraged, I just don't know what to do anymore.
 
Aurora

Raniah
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Date Joined Mar 2009
Total Posts : 1190
   Posted 7/21/2009 3:15 PM (GMT -7)   
Oh my goodness, Aurora.....I am so sorry!  I feel completely inept when it comes to advising you about this, because our medical systems are so different.   sad    I know the others will be able to offer some helpful words of wisdom.  I just want you to know you have my sympathy and my support.  It's awful that you have had to miss appointments with oncologists because of this mess.  I wish so much that I knew more about this so I could help.  Please stay with us....I'm sure someone will have a good suggestion for you.  (((hugs)))
 
Moderator, Depression Forum
 
“Hope is the pillar that holds up the world.”  ~Pliny the Elder

 

 


THE HAPPY TURTLE
Elite Member


Date Joined Mar 2009
Total Posts : 18748
   Posted 7/21/2009 6:01 PM (GMT -7)   
aurora.......at least you are trying very hard to pay your bills. yeah it sucks that you have to miss needed appts. i have found that if you are paying of bills on payment plans that they will not go to collection. i am on payment plans for my gas and electricity. i let them go, last year i had no gas for 5 months, earlier this year no power for 2 months. had to bite the bullet and call both providers. gas is in front, electricity-still behind but getting there, internet/ phone, just okay, rent, in front-it has been direct debited from the start. if you need to access services, dr, oncologist etc i would go-as you are paying off your account. not as if you haven't made payments. trust me, some people do not even try, thus i give you credit for doing the right thing, thus keep your appts. your health is priceless my friend, thus i suggest you inform them at the counter that you are making payments!!! keep strong my friend and hold your head high. jamie

Aurora60
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Date Joined Jul 2006
Total Posts : 1249
   Posted 7/21/2009 6:24 PM (GMT -7)   

Thanks for your replies, Raniah and Jamiee.  I do understand, Raniah, that your healthcare system is different so you don't encounter the types of problems we have here.  Essentially the high amounts I am required to pay are because of the people who have NO money and they use the emergency room as their dr. and then the rest of us get stuck paying their costs.  It is really unfair.  Jamiee, I could skip payments but in the long run I would still have to pay the full amount and it would get me behind and then I might really have trouble getting these bills off my back.  I am curious if you know how long it takes before they turn it over to a collection agency?  I am sure they warn you first but then if you don't make up the payments they build up.  And if I have debts I may run the risk of not getting treated.  And I pay such a high premium and deductible for my health insurance.  It is truly robbery by the healthcare system in this country. I have about 15 mos. before I am eligible for Medicare so I am hoping I will be able to stay healthy so I won't have additional bills.  I just needed to rant over this - it is so frustrating and upsetting to have to deal with the kind of people who are in these billing offices.  They better hope they keep their jobs and don't get sick.

Aurora


stkitt
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 32602
   Posted 7/21/2009 6:47 PM (GMT -7)   

Hey Aurora,

I am so sorry that you are in this bind.  At our hospital any patient that cannot afford to pay their bill meets with the business office and sets up a payment plan that they can afford.  Most hospitals would rather receive some payment rather then nothing at all.

Often bills get written off as people do not have the monies and as you say they end up coming to the ER's because they know they will be seen in the ER. 

I just feel it makes sense to give people the chance to pay what they can.  I know this has to be extremely difficult for you but you really do need to see your physicians for your disorders too so try to make some appointments. 

Many hugs to you,

Kitt


 

Kitt,
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Aurora60
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2006
Total Posts : 1249
   Posted 7/21/2009 6:59 PM (GMT -7)   

Kitt, I really appreciate your reply.  I have payment plans all set up but the problem is that they require you to pay the whole bill in 12 months and after all my health problems my bills are huge which makes my monthly payments large.  I filled out a ton of financial papers to get some relief but they are not budging on this issue.  I may have to consider paying less and let them threaten me as I am still paying them every month. And even when the bill gets down to 5 or 6 payments they won't lower those to help me.  Health bills are often the one thing that makes people declare bankrupty but if I did that I would hurt my credit rating and then I don't know if I would get the same care or be able to keep my drs.  So I guess I am in between a rock and a hard place. I have cut everything else to the bare bones so I will just be glad when I get through the next 15 mos and can get medicare.  Hope it is still around for me. If I only used the ER and didn't have health insurance I wouldn't have to pay so much.  My punishment is the fact that I do have health insurance but the premiums and deductible and 20% are eating up my retirement account.

Aurora


Tirzah
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2008
Total Posts : 2280
   Posted 7/21/2009 7:59 PM (GMT -7)   
Aurora,
It all depends on the provider. I have one psychiatrist who is still trying to track me down for payments 2 years later. He has not yet sent me to collections even though I haven't been able to make any payments (insurance paid 80%, but I've paid nothing). In December, I got a "Final Notice -- if account is not paid by December 31, this account will be sent to collections". Well, it has not been sent to collections yet.
On the other hand, the blood place sends you to collections if you are 2 months late, even if you made a partial payment if that partial payment was less than your payment plan.
So it really just depends.

I think you really do need to find a way to see an oncologist, though. Please do talk with your provider at your next appointment & explain what is happening. Tell your doctor that you would like to continue seeing him/her but are unable to keep to your original payment plan. Ask if s/he would be willing to accept something less than that amount. If s/he says no, they maybe you can ask for a referral to a lower-cost provider.

There are a lot of programs that offer assistance to cancer patients. Perhaps one of those programs could help you. Here's a link:
http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/Support/financial-resources

Feel better & hang in there! Everybody has bad days. Try not to let it suck you back into deep depression. I know from experience that it is not easy to not give in to the negative thoughts, but I believe in you. Things don't have to get worse, so try to believe that they will get better. I will be hoping & praying that they really do get better for you.

peace & blessings,
Frances
Moderator -- Depression Forum


Aurora60
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2006
Total Posts : 1249
   Posted 7/22/2009 8:42 AM (GMT -7)   

Thanks Frances for your help.  I think I am feeling particularly down because my asthma has flared up bad again and struggling to breathe makes everything seem so much worse for me.  Also, I am on prednisone for the asthma and it makes me a nut case, I just bounce off the walls, shake and can't sleep.  So I think that is making my situation worse. I guess I am just going to have to bite the bullet and keep up with my payments the best I can.  My health insurance requires that I use network providers so I have to stick with the drs I see.  But since they are part of the network they always reduce down the amount I owe.  For instance if the bill is $250 they may knock down what I owe to $170 so I don't ever have to pay the full amount.  But the lesser amounts don't add up as quickly to cover my deductible so that is why I have so many bills.  I am just trying really hard to stay well so I don't run up any more dr. bills.  And I will see my oncologists in the fall. I will ask them at that time if they can somehow code the visit in a way that the charge is not so high. I know you have been through so much so you understand how difficult it is to deal with all this bureaucacy. Thanks again for caring and helping me. Just hearing from people makes me feel better.

Many hugs,

Aurora


Mazfire
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Date Joined Oct 2008
Total Posts : 1683
   Posted 7/22/2009 11:34 AM (GMT -7)   

Aurora i cant give you specific advice, cos im pretty sure we have a different style system in Australia, but i wanted you to feel loved- and calmed and hugged at this stressful time.

(((((((((((Aurora))))))))))))))

Maz XX


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Aurora60
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2006
Total Posts : 1249
   Posted 7/22/2009 4:31 PM (GMT -7)   

Thank you Mazfire for your comforting reply.  I had to go to the lung specialist today again so now I am adding to my mounting health bills.  But I had no choice as I just couldn't breathe from my asthma.  So looks like I am going to be paying drs for several years. Your daily inspirations are so wonderful.  I will look forward to them  when you post them.

Hugs,

Aurora


THE HAPPY TURTLE
Elite Member


Date Joined Mar 2009
Total Posts : 18748
   Posted 7/22/2009 10:01 PM (GMT -7)   
HUGS from me too. jamie.

Raniah
Veteran Member


Date Joined Mar 2009
Total Posts : 1190
   Posted 7/23/2009 1:58 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi Aurora,

I hope you are feeling better and breathing better soon. You are in my prayers. As you can see, there are lots of us here who care about you and want you to be well and happy. (((Hugs))) Please keep us posted.
 
Moderator, Depression Forum
 
“Hope is the pillar that holds up the world.”  ~Pliny the Elder

 

 


Aurora60
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2006
Total Posts : 1249
   Posted 7/23/2009 3:58 PM (GMT -7)   

Thank you each and everyone of you wonderful friends.  I am starting to feel a little better today.  Found out that all the rain here has caused significant mold in the air and that is one of the worst triggers for my asthma.  But I am taking my meds and hope I will be tip top by next week.  It is great to have your support.

Hugs,

Aurora

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