Worried about my medical bills

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Malkavian
Veteran Member


Date Joined Mar 2009
Total Posts : 1439
   Posted 4/3/2009 6:54 PM (GMT -6)   
I just got a bill from the hospital for my colonoscopy and after the insurance, they're expecting me to pay around $940.

I'm extremely worried, I'm a student and only work part time right now, so this is a quarter of what I make a year from my job. My parents can't help me because my dad was laid off the week of the procedure. I don't have a job lined up for after I graduate in May yet and I'm going to need money for a security deposit on an apartment as well. This is on top of me paying rent, utilities, phone bills, and for prescriptions.

And I don't even know if this amount is normal/standard for a colonoscopy.

I'm kind of panicked and really don't know what to do right now.
21, female, diagnosed 3/6/2009
Mild ulcerative colitis from rectum to mid transverse colon
Currently in remission
Currently taking Asacol (3x/day) and Calcium/D supplements


Dr-A
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2006
Total Posts : 2105
   Posted 4/3/2009 7:06 PM (GMT -6)   
You say I don't have that but I'll pay what I can monthly. If that is 10$ then that's what you pay. If they get irritated well they just get irritated. Alot of time if you keep trying to pay it slowly, some places can end up writing that off. Worry about food, shelter, meds first, and hospital stuff last. Worse thing that happens is it goes to a creditor 8 months down the road and you may end up paying half of that bill in the end. Just keep sending something.

Been there done that many years ago. You should be informed of the cost before the procedure.
Proctitis DX 1999, Pancolitis DX 2008
Lialda 1 day
Immuran
Golimumab study (100mg every 4 weeks)
Vitamin E Enemas as needed
Probiotis/GreenTea/VitD+Ca/SuperDHA


Malkavian
Veteran Member


Date Joined Mar 2009
Total Posts : 1439
   Posted 4/3/2009 7:11 PM (GMT -6)   
I knew the cost without insurance was going to be around 2g. I thought the insurance would cover most of it, though.

Do you think I should try to see if my university's insurance would cover any more of it in addition to my dad's insurance?
21, female, diagnosed 3/6/2009
Mild ulcerative colitis from rectum to mid transverse colon
Currently in remission
Currently taking Asacol (3x/day) and Calcium/D supplements


Sara14
Veteran Member


Date Joined Mar 2007
Total Posts : 4538
   Posted 4/3/2009 7:13 PM (GMT -6)   
If you call the hospital's billing department and explain your situation, they will probably be willing to set up a monthly payment plan with you, depending on how much you can afford to pay them each month. I have done that before, usually just paying about $50/month, which is still a lot for me, but I'm sure you could go lower than that if you need to.

I can't remember how much mine have cost in the past, but that seems a bit high. With my old insurance, I only had to pay a $20 co-pay.


25 years old; diagnosed March 2007;
Currently: persistant rectal inflammation
Asacol, 4 tabs, 3xday; Rowasa nightly; Viactiv; Metamucil wafers; multivitamin; Primadophilus Reuteri; sublingual allergy drops; Ortho Tri-Cyclen


FitzyK23
Veteran Member


Date Joined May 2005
Total Posts : 4219
   Posted 4/3/2009 7:52 PM (GMT -6)   
Yes, you should call your main insurance company as well as the hospital and make sure it wasn't an error. Unless you have a copay or deductible to meet, anything the insurance company doesn't pay should be written off. If that doesn't work, try your co-insurance. If that doesn't work, go the payment plan route. If you are worried about your credit put it on a credit card and make the minimum payments until you get your full time job.
27 Year old married female law student (last year!!). Diagnosed w/ CD 4 years ago, IBS for over 10 years before that, which was probably the CD. I am sort of lactose intollerant too but can handle anything cultured and do well w/ lactose pills and lactaid. For crohns I am currently on Pentasa 4 pills/4x day and hysociamine prn. I also have bad acid reflux and have been on PPI's since age 13. I have been through prilosec, prevacid, and nexium. Currently I am on Protonix in the morning and Zantac at night.  I take xanax prn for situational anxiety (aka no easy bathroom access). 


Malkavian
Veteran Member


Date Joined Mar 2009
Total Posts : 1439
   Posted 4/3/2009 7:58 PM (GMT -6)   
I'm sorry, I'm kind of new to insurance terms, what do you mean by written off?

Also, my credit card limit right now isn't high enough to put the entire bill on it.
21, female, diagnosed 3/6/2009
Mild ulcerative colitis from rectum to mid transverse colon
Currently in remission
Currently taking Asacol (3x/day) and Calcium/D supplements


yuckygut
Regular Member


Date Joined Feb 2008
Total Posts : 214
   Posted 4/3/2009 9:57 PM (GMT -6)   
Talk to the administrator and see if they could possibley decrease your bill, sometimes they do allow that, we had an ER visit and thought the bill was way out of line and after talking with the payment people there, they decreased it about 25%, and any little bit helps, if that does not work, then pay a minimun monthly as able. hopefully obama can do something with this in the future, although I really dont want socialized medicine either. (that is a topic for another time)

--------------------------------------------------------------

yuckygut

diagnosed 1998

now off prednisone and colazal

drink 1 Haldi daily to remain in remission

mollymcbutter
Regular Member


Date Joined Mar 2009
Total Posts : 130
   Posted 4/3/2009 10:07 PM (GMT -6)   
I work in a hospital the only thing I think ours does if you pay the bill in full cash they give you like a 10 or 20 % discount. But if you can pay only 10.00 a month or whatever, I don't know that they can do much to you as long as you continue to make an effort and pay something. I know even has an employee of the hospital I don't get a discount. Talk to them tell them your situation and hopefully they will work with you.

Malkavian
Veteran Member


Date Joined Mar 2009
Total Posts : 1439
   Posted 4/3/2009 11:45 PM (GMT -6)   
Alright, I'll have my mom look in with the insurance company and stuff, and see if I can get the school to help/ pay in increments. Thanks for all the advice.
21, female, diagnosed 3/6/2009
Mild ulcerative colitis from rectum to mid transverse colon
Currently in remission
Currently taking Asacol (3x/day) and Calcium/D supplements


Peety
Veteran Member


Date Joined Mar 2008
Total Posts : 2855
   Posted 4/4/2009 11:23 AM (GMT -6)   
Definitely talk to the hospital. They all have financial assistance and charity care policies that will allow you to pay what you can, maybe even nothing. It becomes a problem when people don't communicate and just ignore the bills, because the hospital can't know who has money and who doesn't unless you tell them. If you think the person you are speaking to is being unreasonable or too aggressive with you (and you are staying calm, right?) then ask to talk to someone else, all the way up the line if you have to.

There is no need to put it on a credit card! They will not ding your credit unless you ignore the bill.

A write off is something that the health provider does, they just eat the cost and don't collect. Nonprofit hospitals are given exemptions from paying taxes for their willingness to do this. But, again, they also have the responsibility to stay solvent and collect what they can for the work they have done from those who can afford to pay...so COMMUNICATE. Many hospitals put their financial assistance and charity care policies on their websites, look so you know what to expect.

Charges are very complicated. A procedure might have a $2000 price, and if the hospital has a contract with your insurance provider, the hospital may have agreed that they will only charge $1400. Then your insurance may only pay 50% of that, so you have to pay the rest, which would be $700. So it is normal to still get a hefty bill if you have insurance.

And, unfortunately some insurance plans (mine, for example) will pay 100% for annual "routine" colonoscopies. But because we have UC our colonoscopies are "diagnostic" and my insurance will only pay like 80%. How fair is that??
49 year old female attorney, diagnosed UC/pancolitis 1985, no surgery but much suffering. Asacol/5ASA 6x400 mg maintenance for 20+ years; use prednisone & Rowasa for flares. 
August 2008 sought care of naturopathic doctor. Food sensitivity test showed wheat/gluten, other intolerances; eliminated all wheat/gluten from my diet. Probiotics (Ultimate Flora, 50 billion), trying Curamin. 
Flaring, seasonal? or supplements too harsh? Back on prednisone, tried to taper but now back up to 20-30 after several really bad days. Waiting for insurance decison on Humira...soon... 


Old Hat
Veteran Member


Date Joined Feb 2007
Total Posts : 5191
   Posted 4/4/2009 1:23 PM (GMT -6)   
As Dr.-A recommends above, it's best to ascertain the cost of procedure + amount your insurance will cover before you schedule it-- especially if you're on a tight budget. A few yrs back when I was about to schedule a c-scope I asked my gastro's assistant for the price. I was informed that it ranged between $1,600-$3,000 "depending on what needs to be done in the course of the procedure"-- so I assumed (correctly) that the higher amount would apply to multiple biopsies/polyp extraction, which I fortunately did not need. In the early stage of my treatment for UC my insurance would cover 90-100% of the c-scope cost, but now it only covers 20-25% because I insist on staying with my longtime gastro, who is out-of-network. You'll learn the ropes of coping with these costs over time-- so take good care of yourself & try not to worry a whole lot, but look for rational solutions to the $$$ problem. / Old Hat (30 yrs with left-sided UC ... [etc.])

Malkavian
Veteran Member


Date Joined Mar 2009
Total Posts : 1439
   Posted 4/4/2009 4:20 PM (GMT -6)   
Well, now that my midterms are over I'm going to be spamming job applications to everywhere and their mom. I went to a job fair the other day and found a job offer with my university as a lab tech that looks somewhat promising. Hopefully I can get a job with good pay and good insurance and then I won't have to worry as much.
21, female, diagnosed 3/6/2009
Mild ulcerative colitis from rectum to mid transverse colon
Currently in remission
Currently taking Asacol (3x/day) and Calcium/D supplements

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