I have a secret theory that some companies send out bills without a lot of detail or add on extra charges, hoping that you'll pay them without noticing or bothering to find out what exactly you're paying.
A couple of weeks ago, a friend asked me how much we'd paid out of pocket for our daughter's birth. I told her (probably with no small degree of smugness) that it'd been completely covered by insurance.
Then, of course, THAT AFTERNOON I walked to the mailbox and pulled out a bill from the hospital for the sum of $700. My baby was eight months old! What could I possibly owe? Also, goodbye tax return.
I went home and called the hospital to ask what this $700 bill was for (you might have guessed that the bill made no mention of WHAT I might owe $700 for, just that I owed it and ought to pay it quickly before it went to collections).
They told me that $200 of it was my co-pay and $500 was my co-insurance. (I have no idea what co-insurance is). They did rush to assure me that the insurance company had already paid $15,000 for her birth, and had only bumped back this very small $700 charge. This did not make me feel better.
I felt certain that everything we'd read about the health insurance plan insisted that a birth would be completely covered and there would be no copay at all. So I called my health insurance company and asked how come they hadn't paid it.
The answer? They'd listed my delivery as being out of network. Was it? Of course not, and as soon as they looked up the hospital where she was born and my plan, it was clear that she was born right smack in the middle of the network and that I certainly did not owe $700 and they would cover it.
But if I hadn't called, I would never have known, and I also would have been $700 poorer. On Monday, I got a form from the insurance company indicating that they had increased the amount they paid and I now owed nothing.
If I wasn't already convinced that you shouldn't call about any bills you think you don't owe, I certainly am now.