27 March 2006

It only takes one

So about my $983 medical bill, my frightening overwhelming, I-didn't-ask-for-this, medical bill:

To recap: I had a cardiac test that the scheduler told me would cost $250. The bill came and it was $1560, and I owed $983 of that. This circumstance meant that I spent all weekend in a State of Extended Panic with bouts of Trembling and Shouting with a Tendency Toward Tears.

As soon as I got to work this morning I called the 800 number at my medical insurance company and talked to Randy, a claims guy, about my problem. He made really good sympathetic noises, but basically said it was a problem between me and the doc.

I got done with work and off to the medical office I went. I found Debbie, the scheduler who had given me the $250 estimate and told her what happened.

She, of course, denied the whole thing. She started out fairly reasonably, but when it became clear that I was indeed pinning the blame on her and wasn't backing down, she got snotty and could not have been snottier.

She tried to weasel out of it every which way. She never said it, I didn't understand her, she never quoted tests, she "knew how she interacted with patients and I wouldn't have done that," "This kind of thing has never happened before," "You probably just don't have very good insurance," yadayadayada.

She finally would not talk to me any more. She sent me down to the Office Manager. By then I was shaking and so screwed up I had to walk around the building twice to find the office.

The first person I talked to in the business office was a complete wench too. She took my paperwork and looked it over and tapped her acrylic nails on the desk and told me it was billed correctly. I was on the verge of hopelessness.

But then...then came Betty. She emerged from her office, a tiny white-haired woman in a purple sweater and cute glasses. She waved off the wench. She grabbed my hand and looked in my eyes.

"We don't want you to be upset," she said, and I could tell she meant it.

She looked at my bill and nodded and muttered under her breath and figured a bit.

"How about...would it be okay if...you just paid the $250 and we called it even?" she said.

"That is EXACTLY what I was going to propose," I said.

So all it took was one kind person, one Betty, to make me think that maybe the world wasn't such a rotten place after all. That the Universe wasn't conspiring against me. That I might make it after all, like Mary Richards in Minneapolis.

Here's my wish for you dear reader: into your life, may a little Betty fall.


Crissy said...

I recently found your site, love the Office Space reference!

This story made me realize that we should all be more like Betty. Giving people a break, like when they cut me off because they realized they were in the wrong lane or commenting on a great site that I have been lurking on for days/weeks/months.

So this is my feeble attempt at adding a little more Betty to your day. I think I am going to have to borrow that phrase now - is that ok?

MrsFortune said...

Oh I need a Betty. I'm sorry you had to go through all that bs, there is almost NOTHING more frustrating than dealing with insurance snafus, but man, thank god for the pot of Betty at the end of your rainbow.

IzzyMom said...

That kind of red tape runaround is enough to drive the sanest people to the brink. Thank God for the Bettys of the world.

FYI: Several years ago, a guy went postal at an insurance company here and killed a bunch of people. My huz later worked with a woman who saw her boss get shot right next to her and she was seriously messed up with post traumatic stress disorder. She was on so many medications that she ran over a little boy and paralyzed him from the neck down. Sad, isn't it?

Christina said...

Yay for you! That's wonderful that Betty was so nice and willing to make things better. That's what good customer service (and just good people) is all about.

J.R. Kinnard said...

I hear Betty is looking for a job today.

Just kidding!

I think this was all part of your stress test. They just didn't tell you about it so the results would be accurate.

cameo said...

don't you love it when it all works out? i think you were the recepient of good ju-ju too! see, the worlds not all that bad. it's the little victories that make things good. congratulations to you! be sure to send Betty some cookies.

SUEB0B said...

Thanks, Crissy. I do love me some office space!

MrsF - And I WORK for an insurance company!

Izzy - Yes, I know why we have super watchful security guards at work.

Christina - yes, running into nice people is a pleasure no matter where they are!

JR - I would have expected nothing less from you!

Cameo - I can't tell you how much better I feel!

Thanks, everyone, for your kind wishes

giddybug said...

I try to add a little Betty to someone's day whenever I can. I'm always glad to hear stories about the small kindnesses people do for one another.

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