Monthly Archives: April 2007
As the month of April comes to a close, I’d like to take a moment to give recognition and thanks to the sponsors and advertisers here at My New Choice. Your assistance helps keep this site running and I just want to try and repay the favor with an additional shout-out for each of you. […] continue reading
Earlier in the year, I finally took the plunge and moved my emergency fund from ING over to a new account at HSBCdirect. The motivating factor for that switch was the 6.00% APY promotion that HSBC is running until the end of April. As the end of April is quickly approaching, I’ve been kicking around […] continue reading
How many people do you know that have taken advantage of financial products such as interest-only mortgages, piggyback loans or option adjustable-rate mortgages in order to *afford* a more expensive home? Many of these options carry a considerable amount of risk and have been resulting in more people defaulting on their loans when the initial […] continue reading
One of the age old debates on many financial message boards is the idea behind timing the market as the basis for your investing strategy. While it seems that the majority of people are firmly against trying to time the market, there are proponents that can make a very compelling case for the potential behind […] continue reading
One of the first posts that I made here at My New Choice was about the importance of payment history on your credit score. As a great follow-up to that post, you might enjoy a post from Kelly Cho on what you can do to improve your FICO score. Some of the highlights that you […] continue reading
In the discussion on my post about the PayPal money market fund, Pakdamek posted a question about short-term CD options and asked for assistance. My recommendation was to review the current high yield rates for 6-month CDs at Bank Rate, but that Pakdamek might also want to consider an online savings account. 6-Month CD Looking […] continue reading
I’m the type of person that is always looking for different ways to save money, which is why I had to share with you the 101 Ways to Save One Dollar a Week article over at CareOne Credit Counseling. At the beginning of the year, I put a challenge out to all of you to […] continue reading
After making a recent update to a plugin used on my website, there was an error being generated that was only visible when viewing my RSS feed. Just as I discovered the error and began to look for a fix, I received an email from Sun over at The Sun’s Financial Diary alerting me of […] continue reading
Back in March, State Farm had announced that auto policyholders would be receiving a refund for the first time since 2000. When it is all said and done, State Farm will have paid out roughly $1.25 billion in dividends back to their auto customers. The average dividend will be about $35 per insured vehicle but […] continue reading
A couple of months ago, our son spent some time in the hospial and underwent numerous tests as the doctors attempted to diagnose the problems he was having. Fast forward to now and we are starting to get the bills from the hospital, laboratories, doctors and specialists. The pile of papers can become quite daunting, […] continue reading
A couple of months ago, our son spent some time in the hospial and underwent numerous tests as the doctors attempted to diagnose the problems he was having. Fast forward to now and we are starting to get the bills from the hospital, laboratories, doctors and specialists.
The pile of papers can become quite daunting, as there are the bills from the service providers as well as the statements from the insurance company on what portion of the bill they will cover. If you are not diligent with your record-keeping, it would be far too easy to trust the insurance and service providers to send you accurate information and pay the bills that you receive.
However, you really need to take the time to review the bills and explanation of benefits from your insurance as mistakes are quite common. In our situation, the one mistake that we just discovered was a bill from one of the laboratories. The total amount of the bill was $486 and our insurance made a contractual adjustment of $161.00 and a payment of $21.60, leaving an unpaid balance of $303.40.
According to the Explanation of Benefits from the insurance company, we would only owe $20.70 out of that $303.40 for the following reason:
Your health care plan covers eligible services up to an allowed amount for services ordered or provided by a participating provider. Since this amount has been paid, no further payment can be made. You are not responsible for the charges over the allowed amount.
While we are not responsible for the full amount of the unpaid balance, that did not prevent the laboratory from sending us a bill trying to collect the full $303.40. This morning my wife called our insurance provider to verify that they reported everything accurately and confirm the amount that we are expected to pay.
While on the phone with the insurance provider, the representative conferenced in someone from the laboratory to discuss the bill that we received. When questioned about why we received a bill from the lab for the full amount, the representative denied that any bill was sent to us and that we only owe the $20.70 mentioned earlier. My wife explained to the representative that we have a bill in our possession indicating a balance of $303.40, yet they still denied that they ever sent a bill.
I found it quite interesting that the representative from the lab was trying to deny sending us a bill for the full amount while they were conferenced in with the insurance provider. Immediately that made me think that they were trying to cover something on their end and I need to do some investigation, as I wonder if that violates any of their contractual agreements with the insurance company or something along those lines.
Needless to say, the lesson here is that it is very important to closely examine your medical bills for clerical errors and inaccurate billings. In my opinion, this laboratory sent us a bill for the full amount in an effort to bypass the adjustments made by the insurance provider. In many cases, people may unknowingly pay that full amount because they do not examine all of the bills in detail. If we did not question the amount of the bill, would they have credited us back the amount that we overpaid? While I would like to think that they would, I do have my doubts.
If you find yourself with a handful of medical bills, please take the time to examine everything in detail and question anything that you do not understand or believe to be incorrect. In this example that we just experienced, we *saved* $282.70 by taking the time to question the laboratory on the bill we received.