was hit by a truck while bicycling to school early April. The kids and I (I’m a widow) have a high deductible medical health plan so I was looking at a total of about $8000 out of pocket medical expenses for his surgery, hospital stay, ambulance ride, and other assorted fun.
Fast forward a few months. Son has recovered nicely (just biked off to first day of 8th grade – woo hoo!) and obviously the bills came flying in.
I paid off the tiny assorted bills easily. Called the ambulance company and just from asking, they knocked off 15% ($400). Same thing with the surgeon, knocked off 10% easy-peasy.
The hospital was the big one – copay of around $3600. I called and asked if there was anything they could do and i have a quastion – what is the easiest way of borrowing money?! well, they don’t do an auto knock-off by me asking but I can fill out a request. So I sent it in, along with some paperwork. They mail me back, want me to send copies of my last two paycheck stubs as well as my bank statements.
Well, here’s the thing. I can totally afford to pay the bill. I also have a really, really good job and am paid very well. There is no WAY on earth that I will qualify on the basis of need. No way.
So I almost said, forget it, there’s no point in filling this out, there’s no reason for them to knock down that bill. But then I thought, hey, even if they knock off $100 or $200, that’s a pretty good return on my time so I sent the paperwork. I also sent them a letter discussing what happened with my son, admitted that I can pay the bill but kind of thought it stunk that I had to (driver of the truck was 100% at fault), and also thanked them for the amazing job they did when we were at their hospital – great staff, everything was good. Then I waited.
I come back from a short camping trip (me and 7 kids!) to find a voicemail to call them and discuss my account. I get through and she said that they’re willing to knock it from $3600 to $569! I was very effusive in my gratitude and mailed the check that day.
So it really can’t hurt to ask for a break (and be nice while you’re doing it!).
And, because I know some of you are wondering, what happened with the other guy – why am I paying at all?
Other driver carried $100,000 limit on other driver expenses. My health insurance paid everything after copays/deductibles, but they’re going after that $100,000 settlement. Beyond the expenses they’ve paid so far (nearly $80,000), there’s another surgery in November and possibly more surgeries down the road depending on how his leg reacts to the titanium. My health insurance wouldn’t deal with me, pretty adamant that they’d recover all their money, so I had to involve a lawyer whom they did listen to. They’re now going to allow a split of the money from the other driver’s insurance – they get some, the lawyer gets some, we get some. I’ll be able to cover my direct expenses and a relatively small amount will go into a structured settlement with amounts released each year that son #1 goes to college. That will help defray some of the cost of his tuition.