Monday, June 8, 2015

The Sad Story of American Healthcare

About a month ago I had a little motorbike accident (ok, it felt like a pretty big motorbike accident when I hit gravel and went down at 65 mph).  Anyway, I ended up in the Emergency Room with a massive (I thought so) cut on my leg and I had x-rays of my legs and wrist done.  I wasn’t taken by ambulance as it wasn’t really that bad, although it felt so at the time.

Waaa... I broke my bike
And my helmet... [*sad face*]
A couple of days ago I received a bill in the post from the “Emergency Physicians” asking me to pay $800+.  I was a bit surprised at this because I have health insurance and I had given them my information when I was at the hospital.  They weren’t very polite on this bill either, I was told that I must pay the balance by June 18th or the bill “would be deemed delinquent and assigned to a collection agency.”  Bloody hell, I though, I better give them a ring and find out what’s going on.

So today, I rang them and after having being on hold for about 20 minutes, this conversation ensued after I had given them my date of birth, my account number, my home address, my first born….:

     Me:        I don’t understand why I got this bill, I have insurance and I gave the information to the hospital

     Them:   We show this was as a result of a motor vee-hick-al accident

     Me:    Yes, it was

     Them:    We need the information for the other driver’s insurance

     Me:    There wasn’t one, I was on a bike.  

     Them:    So there is no health coverage from a third party?

     Me:     No, but I gave my health insurance card at the hospital

     Them:    Oh yes, we have the information on file, I will process it now.  You can disregard this statement and if you get anything else in the mail, please call us back.

     Me:    Ummm… okay  [actually thinking what the heck?]

My question is, why did they not use my health insurance first?  This is the whole problem with the American healthcare system.  People are so quick to sue each other your insurance company would rather get the money directly from someone else, instead of using your own insurance (which you pay a mighty amount for every month, by the way) and then threaten to send you to collections if you don’t pay the bill, which you shouldn’t have got in the first place because you have health insurance…. It’s an endless bloody circle.  

Shouldn’t they have used my insurance first and, assuming someone else was actually to blame, then attempted to get a refund from them?  Why should I be threatened with collections when I pay a bloody fortune every month in case I need a doctor?

Yes, this makes me mad…

Okay, rant over.

I have been told they try and get paid by other insurance first because if they use your health insurance, they will have to give a discount, but if someone else pays, they can get their whole extortionate amount.  I'm still mad.


  1. Just wrote a comment on how random health insurance decisions seemed to me, when we were in the US. If you queried them, they sometimes reduced dramatically, or disappeared (as in your experience). And then the comment didn't publish. Oh... the randomness of life.

    I'm glad you're ok, but stay away from vee-hick-als, is my advice.

  2. "If theyuse your health insurance, they will have to give a discount..." - the system is so weird.

  3. If you had been riding a Triumph you wouldn't have had the accident ;-)