Patient demands straight answers

Early January of this year, I was quite ill when my doctor ordered blood work to be done in the lab. The nurse in his office began to call the hospital where I was to schedule the lab work.

I told her at that time I didn't think they honored my insurance. She said she knew I felt very badly, and she would call to make certain. I gave her the information that my insurance had changed names, and anything else I thought she needed. She was assured by the lab worker that they did indeed accept my insurance.

When my daughter and I walked over to the lab in the hospital, I handed over the insurance card and again asked if they were certain they took the insurance in question. Emphatically, without hesitation, she assured me that the insurance was honored.

At the end of January or beginning of February, I received two bills in two days for almost $600. They were not typical bills. It stated that, in case my insurance would not pay the claim, I might want to call the provider to encourage them to pay.

I feel the hospital acted unethically to receive the money. I would have not hesitated to go to a lab that would honor my insurance for real. What does one have to do to try to be responsible without hanging themselves in the process? Does everyone who is ill walk around with the list of providers tattooed on their brains? Can no one in the health field be trusted to simply answer a question, even if he must first look up the information to be correct? What do I do now?

Constance Smith, North Augusta, S.C.

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