Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Getting the Medical Bills Paid

First, my lawyer emailed me. The driver who hit me on my bike had $100,000 insurance coverage. The driver's insurance has not yet agreed with the police report that their driver was completely responsible for the accident. They're going to re-interview all the witnesses and try to get them to change their stories. Meanwhile, my lawyer says to send all the bills to him.

Then Hospital A called. They want to be sure I received their bills. They send out bills under 3 names. They said they are reducing the bills because I'm uninsured. I told the woman I have IBX insurance. She said IBX won't pay for automobile accidents. PA is supposed to be a no-fault state. I don't see how IBX can refuse to pay for anything. I'm uninsured because I don't own a car and don't have car insurance that would pay my bills.

Anyway, the woman from Hospital A wanted me to tell her my birthdate and address to confirm my identity. This also made no sense. She wants me to get her bills paid. And she already ought to know my birthdate and address since the hospital went through my fanny pack and took out anything of value, like my driver's license, library card, and IBX card, and about $20 cash. They gave that stuff to my husband, the world's best alien, along with the one ring that they were able to take off.

I told Hospital A the answers anyway, and then teased them that I don't have secret questions for them, so for all I know, they are the driver's insurance company calling to learn what my plans are. I also gave them my lawyer's contact information and told them that he's going to get their bills paid. That seemed to satisfy the woman.

We hung up. My phone rang again. This time it was a recorded call, also purportedly from hospital A. The recording wanted me to take a survey about what I thought of the previous call. They have to be kidding. After listening to a bunch of choices, I finally heard one that said "not interested." I picked that one.

Now, a survey about what I thought of their medical care might have been more interesting. Why did they put IV's in both my elbows? Why did they put a neck brace on me that didn't fit? Why didn't they have a regular bed for me, and instead kept me in the expensive ICU for 2 days after they discovered there was nothing dangerously wrong with me?

My husband got me transferred to the hospital he likes. There, they refused to use either of the IV's put in at Hospital A. Instead they jammed a new one into my hand. I was on a morphine drip and I'm still sure folks heard me screaming down on the sidewalk outside the building. At least Hospital B had some pity. They ran an MRI to see if I needed that horrid neck brace. They need to get one of those MRI-proof headphone sets. The sound is about 130 decibels and it goes BRAAPPP, AACCK, EEEP, for 40 minutes. Whatever injury the CAT scan at Hospital A detected wasn't recent, so Hospital B staff took the neck brace off. Of course, first, they talked about surgery. But old injuries aren't exciting. YAY! I've been being hit by cars on my bike since I was 9. Why shouldn't some injuries be old an boring?

Hospital A had wanted to send me home for 4 to 6 weeks and have me come back to get my collar bone repaired. Hospital B wanted to fix it right away. Hey, as long as I had an IV in, why not use it for something more than salt water and morphine drips? Hospital B was even willing to get me off the morphine. YAY! I haven't seen their bills yet. It would be nice if the total is under $100,000. My lawyer gets 30%. I don't really know how that works. But from what the woman at Hospital A said, you really need a lawyer to get car insurance companies to pay medical bills in this state. She felt confident my lawyer would get her hospital's bills paid. Also, her hospital's bills are arriving first. And that means, by law, they will be paid first.


  1. Wow, what an experience. It sounds like you are doing okay health-wise...at least, I hope so. That is the most important thing. But your post highlights what is wrong with so much of the health system. I hope the hassles are few and you stay healthy!

  2. Thanks. I get an x-ray on Aug 17 to find out if the collar bone is knit up enough to let me start rehab. Meanwhile, my left arm is minimally useful. I can type. I can open doors and other non-weight-lifting tasks. I still have dizzy attacks from the concussion and jaw pain where it got cracked. But basically, I'm lucky. I got hit by a car, bounced on his trunk and then the pavement, and I'm walking around. Wanna hear a good one? My husband called our home insurance company. They suggested we buy car insurance even though we don't have a car, so we won't have this kind of problem again. That ought to be illegal -- selling car insurance to people who don't own cars.