I got a bill from the clinic where my doctor had all the tests done in April of 2007, showing a balance of $102.00 due from "insurance" [that is, my Medicare supplemental policy, not Medicare itself] -- written like this:
Plus a line in boldface type saying that I was responsible for the insurance balance after 60 days.
The $102.00 was the price of a "venipuncture" and two blood tests, all consistent with the problem I saw the doctor about. So I went to the documentation -- which told me that the supplemental insurance only turns down charges that Medicare has also turned down, and that you have to appeal the turn-down first to Medicare, and wait for the results of that appeal, before you can appeal under the supplemental policy. However, Medicare had paid its share for those three items. Hmmm. So...
So I went online and slogged through endless pages of what is alleged to be information about the appeals process for Part This and Part That and inpatient and outpatient and [vamp till ready]... Total waste of time; nothing that I found applied to my situation. And the time it took for everything to appear on my computer screen told me that many, many other elders were there with me, going through the same futile exercise.
This morning I called the clinic's billing department to try to find out what reason the insurance people had given for turning down the three charges....
And was told that the balance shown isn't money due the clinic from me, it is in fact a credit -- which the clinic will be refunding to the insurance company, but which can't be refunded yet because the insurance company has to send an official form requesting that refund, and that hasn't happened yet.
You want to know why an elderly writer might not get a lot of new work written on a given day, or might not get anything posted at her blog? This is one of the reasons.
And while I'm here, I should point out that on the Medicare documents that tell me what's happening with my claims there is an information box on page one that tells you to send your appeals to the address in the "General Information Section" -- where no address appears, but where it tells you to send your appeals to the address in that information box on page 1 -- where no address appears. Abraham, see Lincoln; Lincoln, see Abraham. It took me only thirty minutes online to locate the address in question.
Your tax dollars at work, Gentle Reader.