Saturday, December 22, 2007

Medical Billing Blues

I get frustrated dealing with doctors and the insurance company. I had thought that sticking with "preferred providers" would keep things simple. They bill Blue Cross directly and agree to accept the negotiated rates. Unfortunately, with the large number of charges we've had this year, I've had to create a spreadsheet to track the medical bills and insurance payments. And sometimes it's difficult to match them.

In one instance, Blue Cross paid their portion of a bill, then sent out a statement "correcting" it, saying that the anesthesiologist was not a preferred provider so they paid less. Whether they asked to the doctor to send back a portion of the payment, I don't know. But when I checked with the doctor's office, they said they were indeed participating providers, so I called the insurance company and they agreed. They said that they had made an error and that the first statement was correct, so they had corrected the second statement. Meanwhile, the bill we got does not match the corrected amount so I have to make yet another long-distance call to try to straighten it out.

Sigh! It would be simpler to use an HMO... but our choice of doctors would be too limited, and we would have to drive an hour farther for every appointment. Meanwhile, we have spent over $6000 on medical this year not including insurance premiums, dental bills, and hearing tests.