Hospital Bills Cause More Pain

By
As Told To

Do you ever get the feeling that hospital employees are paid extra to play dumb?
With the millions of dollars in debt being pilled up each and every day, you would think that a hospital’s billing office would want to be on their top game. You would like to make this assumption, but your assumption would be wrong.

My name is Krista. I am a third year college student who, a few months prior, injured my ankle at a volleyball game.

After the initial “pop” I heard come from my right ankle, the first thought that came to my mind was “I am not going to the hospital.” Any normal person who had just injured herself would have probably been moaning in agony, cursing for the ambulance that wasn’t already there.

I did not want to go to the hospital. “I’m a tough girl,” I thought. “I can handle it.” But as the pain in my right ankle intensified with each throbbing beat of my heart, I knew where I had to go. Fifteen minutes later I was at the county hospital. Several hours later I was informed that it was nothing more than a sprain.

Two months ago had suddenly flown by to a few weeks ago. The first hospital bill came in. $900 was the total throat-cutting cost, and this cost didn’t even include the crutches or the ankle wrap. I didn’t have any insurance at the time of the injury, and I still couldn’t afford at the time I got the bill. I was left in the dark as to how I was going to pay this horrendous bill for some simple sprain that lasted no more than a week.

Now we finally come to the present. All the bills have finally been mailed in to me. Now completely aware of what the total cost was, I decided it would be best to go down to the hospital and see what sort of financial payments were available.

You see, a few days ago, I had made a few calls to a number on one of the bills that could supposedly give me health services information. I talked to three different people and all three assured me I could apply for Medicaid because of my current financial circumstances. All I had to do was go down to the hospital.

Without going into the messy details, a woman at the hospital informed me that A) I do not apply for Medicaid because I do not have a child in my household, and B) I took too long to take care of the bill.

After the woman finished enforcing her knowledge so rudely, I was brought to tears. I was left with a feeling of betrayal and hopelessness. I continually asked myself, “Why would three people tell me I could get Medicaid, and this one [explicit deleted] tell me I can’t?”

I called the hospital later and talked to another person in billing. I was then notified by this particular hospital employee I could in fact qualify for Medicaid. Furthermore, I did not take too long to pay the bill.

It’s amazing the kind of rollercoaster ride you have to go through just to take care of a simple ankle sprain. If there is anything I have learned from this experience, it’s that no matter how many opinions I get from so-called “professionals,” I always get one more.





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