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Paper and more paper

It's mid-October. My father died mid-June, after being hospitalized at the beginning of April on. The medical statements are still coming.

Most of them come from Tricare, the insurance he had as a veteran, and it's Tricare that does the worst job of paper utilization. A couple of weeks ago I got a 10"x13" envelope, and inside were 3 regular "long" envelopes, each with part of a 20-page statement of charges. There are a lot of charges, I grant you, but as each one wraps to a second line, that's lots of extra paper. The prize-winning Tricare statement was 58 pages long.

Then add in all the summary tables, which presumably summarize different bills from the health care provider...though I can't see any logic in what's grouped and what's not. Let's blame that on Emory, anyway. I note there are 23 claims (and summaries) in this latest statement.

After each claim summary is the Out of Pocket Expense table, sometimes with 1 line ("Catastrophic Cap"), sometimes with 3 (CC, Individual and Family Deductibles). The values in that table have been the same in every bill, I think. And then there's the "THIS IS NOT A BILL" banner, before then next claim listing starts.

Shorter statements arrive from CMS/Medicare, and occasional bills from Emory Hospital. If I had time and energy to spare, I'd try to come up with some grand total of what all this cost...or at least what it was billed at, and what insurance paid. The combination of Medicare and Tricare has covered it all, so far--the only bill that arrived showing a balance was paid by the time I called to inquire about it.

Related paper: my brothers and I each filed for our share of a partial month of Daddy's military retirement pay. Actually, first I filed the form in the name of the estate...but that was not permitted, so we each sent in the form as individuals. Tuesday I got the check, and the 1099-R tax form...and another envelope with a letter saying "we haven't received your reply...please fill out the enclosed form and send it to us immediately." Today came a postcard: "you have not returned your claim form". Don't know if he got today's postcard, but my brother next door got the same two envelopes on Tuesday that I did. I must admit they are trying hard to be sure they find the beneficiaries and pay them what's due.



Oct. 17th, 2009 04:18 am (UTC)
wow...this is why I am holding on *tightly* to my Canadian citizenship - if I should ever get truly ill, I'm going *home*.

my mom passed away at the end of June - from about May 24th onwards, she had multiple doctor's appointments, including a home visit, went into palliative home care and had multiple nurse visits each day, buckets of medication, home care assistants as often as we wanted, an ambulance ride (with 2 firetrucks and 2 ambulances showing up when we called...) and treatment in the ER (a day in the hospital).

we paid...about 90$ worth of meds - the first round of drugs, before she was "officially" put onto the palliative care program. Oh, and we rented a hospital bed and walker - which cost us about $150 - most of which was credited back to us, once she got into palliative care.

In July, my brother contracted some sort of scary skin infection. We went to his doctor, and then to the ER the next day - he then did IV antibiotics for the next 3 weeks - 2 times a day. We had 2-3 ER visits a week for follow up, then they gave us prescriptions for 3 weeks of antibiotics, and recommended that he take a probiotic at the same time.

we paid...$15 for the probiotic since it wasn't a prescription drug.

we've never seen a bill.


Nancy Barber

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