A Frequently Overlooked Reason for High Health Care Costs

Last week I received a call from my physician’s billing office. They wanted to know why they hadn’t received my balance of $5.  I explained that the answer was quite simple. I had only received the bill two weeks prior, and the balance wasn’t due for another two weeks. This is information they should have on file.

Nevertheless, I had already sent the check. Were they to patiently wait until it was actually due they would likely find that they had already received it.

Then I asked why they were bothering to follow up on a $5 payment. “Just procedure,” I was told, “We’ll send you another bill.”

And I will ignore it. If this is the effort taken to collect a balance that isn’t overdue, to what lengths, I wonder, will they go to collect $5 that hadn’t actually been paid. Now I almost wish I hadn’t mailed that check just to find out.

The perverse incentives of hospital bill collection…

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