Topic: Just starting had biospies done.

Forum: Employment, Insurance, and Other Financial Issues — Employment, insurance, and financial concerns are common. Meet others here to discuss and for support.

Posted on: Apr 16, 2011 12:16PM - edited Apr 16, 2011 12:18PM by gmafoley

Posted on: Apr 16, 2011 12:16PM - edited Apr 16, 2011 12:18PM by gmafoley

gmafoley wrote:

Yesterday when I went to admitting for my biopsies they handed me an estimate for $14K.  What little insurance I had was used up during my tests. What a way to bring on stress.  The hospital I go to said not to worry, to fill out a financial form and  they will work with us.  We are at the verge of bankruptcy.  This all happened in 2 weeks time.  I could use any ideas on how we are going to stay above water and manage all this.  I get my results on Monday but the doctor seemed to think it is cancer and would be doing at least radiation treatments.

Imagine God in His HUGE rocking chair, rocking you and saying, "It will be ok, you can do it. I will be right here for you". Oncotype score: 8, Rads 28, Bilateral arm, truncal LE and now Obstructive Sleep Apnea Dx 4/19/2011, IDC, 1cm, Stage IB, Grade 2, 1/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Apr 16, 2011 06:00PM Emaline wrote:

Here is what I can offer and I haven't even received a bill for anything, yet.  First of all I work in medical billing.  I am the big meanie who calls you when I don't receive your payment for the month.  What I recommend:  Call or write but I think writing is better as you have a copy of exactly what you said and if you can afford it, send it certified so that they have to sign that they have received your letter. This is important because ABC company cannot say that they never received your letter.  Offer to make payments each month, make it something reasonable. If you can't afford $500/month do not offer.  Most places are going to look at your age and see what is reasonable. For where I work, they want everything paid off in 10 months or less, but figure 4 years or less is reasonable (I work in a nursing home).  If you can't make a payment, keep in contact with them and let them know what is going.

Unfortunately many many places are now going to reduced fee, if you qualify or 3 or 5 monthly payment.  For my friend whose husband had a heart attack, when all was said and done, his bill was over $125,000, he was offered the opportunity to make 3 payments.  I will wait for your laughter to subside.  (This was not the company I work for btw, but a major hospital in my area).  Your option at that point are try to see if you qualify for a settlement or reduction in bill or let them take your to collections.

As someone in billing I can tell you there are two phases to collections, well three.  1st is the phone call or kind of nice letter from where the procedure is done from. Then a not so nice call or letter and maybe another one. At that point, most companies will turn you over to collections. This is stage 2. They will start by sending you threatening letters and maybe calling you at work.  If you have not offered to make monthly payments, this is an excellent time to do it.  And offer to the hospital not the collections people.  Hopefully they will take you up on it.  

Why?  No company wants to go to stage 3, which is when the collections agencies really step it up: Threatening with lawsuits, garnishment of wages, etc. This is where the collection agencies make their money.  At this point, most people will offer to make payments and this is where collection agencies make their money. Most collection agencies will do stage 2 for FREE but if it goes to stage 3, they will take 1/2 of all payments.  So if you offer to make $100 to XYZ hospital for the next 5 years, collection agency gets $50/month of that. 

No hospital/doctor/etc wants to give the collection agency money, so if you can avoid it, make the settlement offer.  If your hospital/doctor/etc wants to play hardball, then make then payment plan to the collection company and they will be more then happy to take you up on it.  Why? They get half the money.  

Dx 4/4/2011, DCIS, 6cm+, Stage 0, Grade 2, 0/5 nodes, ER+/PR+
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Apr 16, 2011 06:03PM Emaline wrote:

I wanted to add that some places may look at public records and see what properties you own and if there are any other outstanding liens on your property.  If there are none, they may decide to put a lien on your property. You can always fight this, but if you signed an admission agreement or an agreement of any sort, it will be very hard.

Dx 4/4/2011, DCIS, 6cm+, Stage 0, Grade 2, 0/5 nodes, ER+/PR+
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Apr 17, 2011 01:29PM AnnNYC wrote:

In my experience, I tried to offer the provider (same hospital, for different bills/different surgeries) a monthly payment that worked for me, but they refused as they considered it too low.  The minimum arrangement they would make was to allow me to pay one-sixth of each bill monthly for 6 months.  No other arrangement was acceptable to them.  They advised me to fill out a "financial need" form, which I did submit -- but that didn't qualify me for a reduced bill or lower monthly payment agreement (because I have other debts I must meet monthly, but which the provider would not consider in their calculation of my means).  Maybe this is a regional difference.

Dx 3/9/2007, IDC, <1cm, Stage I, Grade 2, 0/5 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Apr 18, 2011 08:43AM gmafoley wrote:

Thanks all for putting my mind at rest so then I can work on healing from my lumpectomy and sentinal node biopsy.. Waiting for the result call as I type.. My husband is out of work and the little emergency/illness plan I have was used up when I went in for surgery. With my time off of work, we have to trust God in making something happen here..

Imagine God in His HUGE rocking chair, rocking you and saying, "It will be ok, you can do it. I will be right here for you". Oncotype score: 8, Rads 28, Bilateral arm, truncal LE and now Obstructive Sleep Apnea Dx 4/19/2011, IDC, 1cm, Stage IB, Grade 2, 1/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Apr 18, 2011 04:58PM Emaline wrote:

GmaFoley you are doing the right thing. You have to get better and heal yourself prior to worrying about this other nonsense.

 JBinOK, I can tell you this is a fairly new.  I would say within the last year or so that many places would only setup payment arrangments but it was at their discretion to decide the amount, not you.  Which is why I recommend that you offer an amount, as you do, and hopefully they will take you up on it.  If they don't, then once they send you to collections, try again. If not, you can always setup payment arrangements with the collection company and they are a lot more flexible then many of these companies.

Dx 4/4/2011, DCIS, 6cm+, Stage 0, Grade 2, 0/5 nodes, ER+/PR+
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Apr 18, 2011 07:12PM kathleen1966 wrote:

There are a lot of programs/funding set up for women with breast cancer in terms of treatment.  I know of one women who had no insurance who is part of a program specifically for breast cancer.  All her treatment for the next five years, including chiropractic care, is paid for.  Another friend, who was  treated for BC when she was 27 and had no health insurance (she is now 44) participated in a clinical trial and all her treatments were paid for.  I hope they will help you locate these services at the hospital. They have to exist in Oregon if they exist here in Pittsburgh, PA. I hope that the results you get are Benign but if not I hope you get the help you need. BC treatment is expensive.

Dx 7/26/2010, IDC, 1cm, Stage IIIA, Grade 2, 4/15 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2- Dx 7/26/2010, DCIS, 6cm+, Stage IIIA, Grade 2, 4/15 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2- Dx 7/26/2010, Paget's, 1cm, Stage IIIA, Grade 2, 4/15 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2- Surgery 8/22/2010 Lymph node removal; Lymph node removal (Left): Sentinel, Underarm/Axillary; Mastectomy; Mastectomy (Left) Targeted Therapy 9/6/2010 Herceptin (trastuzumab) Chemotherapy 9/6/2010 Carboplatin (Paraplatin), Taxotere (docetaxel) Radiation Therapy 2/28/2011 Breast, Lymph nodes
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Apr 24, 2011 09:42PM - edited Apr 24, 2011 09:43PM by gmafoley

Kathleen the lump and node wasn't  benign - IDC grade 2, one sentinal node showed first signs of cancer, ER+ PR+ and HER2-.  I am having a second surgery tomorrow afternoon to take my nipple and clean up the margins. The hospital is having us fill out financial forms and said they would work with us...so hopefully - the no insurance thing will get easier.

Imagine God in His HUGE rocking chair, rocking you and saying, "It will be ok, you can do it. I will be right here for you". Oncotype score: 8, Rads 28, Bilateral arm, truncal LE and now Obstructive Sleep Apnea Dx 4/19/2011, IDC, 1cm, Stage IB, Grade 2, 1/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Apr 25, 2011 03:16PM Kay_G wrote:

Very, very sorry about the results.  It is hard enough to deal with without having to worry about not having insurance.  I agree with the others though, doctors and hospitals will take care of you whether you have insurance or not. That is what the hippocratic oath is all about.  Don't worry about trying to pay anything you can't afford.  One good thing about breast cancer is that a lot of money is raised for it, and part of that is designed to go to patients who need financial help.  The social workers at the hospital can probably help with information about that.  I'm going to ask some people at work tomorrow about it and see if they can give me any information.  Concentrate on getting better.  Don't let the finances bother you.  Easier said than done, I know.  Saying some prayers for your recovery and inner peace and strenght.  Take care.

Well that is a pie crust promise, easily made, easily broken. Mary Poppins
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Apr 28, 2011 09:08AM edwards750 wrote:

Let me chime in on this topic...I totally agree about working out a payment plan with the provider before the dreaded collection agency takes over. The Womens Health Center where I had the bulk of my treatments done turned my account over to an agency who could not take debit or flex cards. I asked them what good were they? Anyway, ended up setting up an account online and am making payments monthly. The first one was $500 because of our flex plan but hereafter it will be $50 or less because like everyone else there are too many providers to make that kind of payment monthly. We are blessed because we are just paying the deductible - which is high - $5k and now we are 100% covered with Blue Cross. Of course right now it might as well be $50k...In any event the one thing I think you absolutely do not want to do is ignore them. None of us wants to have to call them but it is better than the reverse. The most important thing is you getting through this and getting better. We all can relate to the financial end but at the end of the day it should be on the back burner. Stress can make your situation worse so try and de-stress and come back to us. We are here to support you and help you in any way we can. We are all in the same boat....been there and still doing that....in my prayers..diane

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