It all started with a visit to the Urgent Care Center. My now adult daughter, Christina, had a horrible toothache – one that resulted in many trips to the bathroom with a small flashlight to check the status of exactly how bad the pain was. Over the counter pain meds did nothing and of course this happened over the weekend with the pain becoming worse and worse. Finally, Sunday evening she said she could not go another night in such pain and begged me to go with her to the Urgent Care Center. I was a bit hopeful that she wouldn’t be able to find one open at 7:00 pm on a Sunday but as usual, Google came to the rescue.
And as we both already knew, the problem was her wisdom tooth. It was impacted (whatever that means; assume impacted = pain = get them out) and after two hours, Christina happily skipped out from the clinic with a prescription for Vicodin.
Fast forward a few weeks: Wisdom teeth successfully extracted (she only had three; how weird is that?) and problem solved. Until we got the bill from the Urgent Care Center.
Total Visit Cost: $149.00
Paid Co-Payment: $75.00
Balance Due: $74.00
Of course as soon as Christina received the bill, she immediately handed it to me.
“You need to deal with this.”
Because everyone knows a 21-year-old is not going to.
A quick call to the Urgent Care billing office informed me that our insurance denied payment due to the diagnosis being “dental related” and our insurance only covered medical not dental. (Ironically, we also have dental insurance but the Urgent Care does not bill dental insurance. Even more ironic is that fact that our well known commercial insurance company grossed over $10.86 BILLION in profit last year but don’t get me started on that soap box…)
So my next step was to call our insurance company. Now, I know in advance that they are only going to speak to “the patient.” Of which I also knew “the patient” had a rat’s ass of interest in trying to get this bill paid. So I called and when asked for identifying information I quickly provided Christina’s stats. As the conversation went on, I felt like I was being way too smart on this phone call pretending to be a young adult. So I quickly threw in a couple of “Really? I don’t know what a covered benefit is,” and “Like, I don’t know how to appeal,” and my favorite: “I was just in a lot of pain, couldn’t the doctor just say that and you pay the bill?”
I handed the bill back to Christina and informed her she would be responsible to pay it. And just as quickly she responded with “Okay, but then I’ll have to short you and dad $50 over my next two paychecks to pay you back for my car repair.”
I must have missed the $26 processing fee.