A funny thing happened on my way to pay a medical bill. I have paid the same medical bill twice and as such have decided to not pay any bill until I get the second notice. So a few day ago I decided to pay the latest bill in the hospital instead of mailing a check to the billing company out-of-state. After much effort I found the correct billing office and presented my bill. I them got what I thought at first was a pleasant surprise. The clerk told me that she did not see a balance owed in the system. She repeated “You do not owe anything on this account”. I was perplexed since the bill I had in hand clearly stated that I owed a significant outstanding balance. As I left the office I began to wonder how many times this situation occurs. What would have happened if I had mailed a check to the out-of-State billing company? How many bills have I paid that were in a similar situation?
This experience has allowed me to revisit an idea that I have expressed to others in the medical community before. I would like to see the morass of medical bills be corralled and only one bill be sent to the patient. Broadly this is how I see it working:
a. all bills are processed by each provider or facility within 20 days of discharge of services,
b. all bills are presented to central biller within 30 days of discharge of patient,
c. one bill presented to patient within 60 days of discharge,
d. all patients have 30 days from receipt of bill to arrange payment.