Friday, June 01, 2007

Emergency Room Mystery

A while back, I blogged about having had to take my Dad to the emergency room. I spent much of that time thinking how glad I was that I am healthy and not accident prone, and thereby not likely to have to spend much time in emergency rooms myself. They aren't fun places to be.
Well I must have jinxed myself, as I had a little episode recently where I had to go to an emergency room! It didn't turn out to be anything serious, but it was a little scary for a while. But even in my moment of distress, I couldn't help noticing that an emergency waiting room is an interesting place for personal finance observations.
First of all, the TV was tuned to some station, I guess it was Court TV, that was showing some kind of People's Court-type program, and the cases had to do with stupid things like people suing each other for $500 because they couldn't agree on who was supposed to pay for them to go to Las Vegas on their third date. This was interspersed with advertisements for home equity loans and ambulance-chaser law firms.
The people at the hospital seemed rather surprised that I had medical insurance, and that I didn't particularly want a note from them telling my boss that I should be excused from a few days of work. I suppose it makes sense-- plenty of people without insurance probably go to emergency rooms since they don't have any particular doctor to go to, and many probably work at the kind of job that isn't too tolerant of absences.
So I'm glad I have a good job that treats me like an adult regarding absences, and provides me with decent insurance... but I'm a little confused about that insurance right now. I just got a bill from the hospital for the emergency visit, as well as a statement from my insurance company.
According to the insurance company statement, the total cost of my emergency room visit was $824.49, which is ridiculous given the minimal amount of attention I got, but fortunately they show the total amount I owe is zero. According to the hospital bill, the total cost of my visit was $413.00, and the amount covered by my insurance was only $313.00, leaving me having to pay a deductible of $100. I haven't yet made any phone calls about this, but I can just imagine it's going to be a ton of fun to untangle.

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