Baffling Medical Billing

Before we left Indiana, Heather had four appointments related to our pregnancy and did some bloodwork with her doctor there.  Recently we received a bill stating that insurance had paid their portion and that we owed about $355.00.  This seemed reasonable, but the statement did raise a question I wanted to ask before I paid it.  The charge on the bill said that it was for 7 or more prenatal visits.  Having not yet had seven visits, I wanted to see if it was possible they’d made a mistake with the billing.

I called the Dr.’s office this morning to ask my question and initially I was told, “Oh, I think that code means for 4-7 visits.”  This seemed odd to me as it said it was for 7 or more, but before I could even ask a follow-up question the woman on the other side of the phone said, “we can just waive that other amount.  We’ll just waive the $355.”  

I was shocked and didn’t really know what to say.  I wasn’t asking for a gift like that, I simply wanted to make sure that we were paying our appropriate share for services rendered.  I am grateful, but I am also a bit baffled.

We hear so much talk about the uninsured and underinsured, people who aren’t able to get the care they need because it is too expensive, and the Dr.’s office has such freedom that they can, without any thought, just give us a $355 gift?  

Again, I am grateful.  But this just illustrates for me that our healthcare system truly is broken.

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