Unbagging the Cats 1

Unbagging the Cats 1

Monday, April 16, 2012

A New Concept. Like Sliced Bread,

Hick had some knee surgery last month. A meniscectomy and a shaving of the other part of his cartilage. For some odd reason, the insurance did not feel this surgery was a necessity. You know. Because elderly men everywhere want the inside of their knees to be SO PRETTY that they are clamoring to have meniscectomies. It must be a self-image issue, wanting this totally unnecessary operatioin. Hick's other knee had been repaired several years ago. This one would not have been such an issued, except that he could not walk on it without pain. It was not a gradual thing. Something happened to it on one of his jaunts about the property, and he could not extend it completely. It swelled up. It interfered with his job. So he went to an orthopedic surgeon, who of course recommended surgery, after the requisite diagnostic testing.

Bills from the 1049 medical providers have been flowing in. I get the bill. I pay the bill. They all come from different entities. The surgeon. The hospital. The anesthesiologist. The anesthesiology group. The hospital lab. The department that does the pre-surgery EKG. The blood work people. Pathology. We'll probably get one from the janitor who changed the trash bags in the recovery room. Most of the bills are not hefty. While the insurance would not pay, they did have the negotiated price that the providers have contracted for. So one day, I might get a bill for $2.40, and the next day for $45.08.

I put on my check-writing cap this morning and commenced to forking over the fruits of Hick's labor. And mine. Though his was 67% of mine, according to the Missouri Department of Revenue. Which I like to think of as Hick being fruitier than I.

As I was getting ready to tear off the payment stub, I noticed a message at the bottom of the $45.08 bill. "If you are paying in full by check or credit card, you may deduct 25% and write '25% discount' on your check." Ain't that a fine how-do-you-do! A discount for paying your bill! I mentioned it to Hick, who said he had asked the insurance coordinator at work about all these bills pouring in, and why the insurance would not cover the surgery. And she had asked him if I was calling the providers to see if they would take less if it was paid in full.

SHUT THE FRONT DOOR! Who knew that the insurance industry operates like a used-car salesman? Not Val Thevictorian! That's a fact, Jack!

Oh, I suppose you worldly city folk knew all about this hidden money-saving tactic. But out here in Backroads, we kind of suppose that you are supposed to pay the price as marked. Except on the car lot.


Stephen Hayes said...

I ask for a cash discount on everything. We got seven percent off on our son's orthodonture, which amounted to hundreds of dollars.

Sioux said...

This is news to me...makes me want to go bungee jumping so perhaps I can bang up my body, get some medical help and then...let the haggling begin.

Val said...

I hear it works at furniture stores, too! All these years, I've been paying sticker price. Needlessly.

It's always good to have a plan that hinges on sticking it to The Man.