Thursday, June 9, 2011

Advice for consumers of the healthcare system, or In Which our heroine again battles the hospital billing department, and emerges victorious

If you too are embarking on an infertility adventure, I cannot emphasize enough -- keep careful records of bills paid and what each payment covers!  I received a bill from Northwestern for $3200.00 last week.  This seemed odd, considering that we have already paid the hospital $15,300 and that was supposed to cover the IVF and implantation.  I called the number listed on the bill for enquiries, and -- surprise!  The REI department has its own number.  The operator transferred my call but as nobody answered, she was supposed to forward a message and my phone number.  Either that didn't happen or the REI department was out of the office, because they didn't return my call.  Today I called them and...the bill was a complete error!  The only thing left to pay is $875.00 for embryo cryopreservation.  (We haven't gotten that bill yet, despite it being a month since the event.)

So, the moral of the story is: If you think you received a bill in error, DON'T pay it until you are certain you actually owe them money!  I can only imagine how difficult it is to get the money back once it's theirs. This message applies to any dealing with the health-care system, I suppose.

Moral number two: Big-name, fancy universities have billing departments no better than our own little UPG billing department.  Gives me a sort of pride in my home school.

And in case you were curious: the running total for a ride on the Amazing Infertility Adventure, aka Operation Baby(Babies) has just about reached $100,000 after-tax dollars.  Mazel tov I'm sure.  Mostly, thank you Mama and Daddy and my wonderful, amazing grandparents and everyone in the family who has helped  us out.  I only pray we can pay this generosity forward.

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