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It’s part of my religious belief that human beings are put on this earth to serve others. My whole family volunteers a weekend out of every month.
I created a network of friends and colleagues who get together to do a project for someone in need. It was a summer or two ago when we helped an older woman who had a 100-plus-year-old house that needed some upgrades.
One of the things we wanted to do was move a door from one section of a wall to another. I was cutting the opening with a saw. I’d made a mistake and had disabled the safety mechanism and the saw kicked back on me. It was so powerful that it came down on top of my knee and cut a deep gash. One of the guys took me to the local hospital’s emergency room. They cleaned the wound and then a nurse practitioner came in and stitched it and told me how to take care of it.
I thought my bill was going to be a couple of hundred, maybe $400 or $500. I got a bill for $2,000. I was shocked. I thought it was a mistake.
But the bill was itemized. Using the room was so much, the injection so much, and the supplies. Added up to $1,996. My insurance had a high deductible so, it was up to me to pay.
I called the hospital and they refused to negotiate. They told me: “You can pay right now and we won’t send you to collections.” Their goal was to get their hands on the money, they didn’t care.
Months later, after I paid the first one, I got another bill for about $1,000 from a doctor. I wasn’t familiar with the doctor. I called the billing company, which was out-of-state, and I said: “Hey I don’t know who this doctor is and I didn’t see a doctor.” They said call the hospital. I did that and they said: “Oh, yes, that’s the on-call doctor.”
I ended up paying that as well.
What did I learn? We rushed to the emergency room. I probably should have looked and researched a little bit, and I probably should have asked about costs. I also should have considered one of those walk-in, urgent care clinics that are in shopping centers and not hospitals. Then it would have cost under $400 to do the same thing. I probably should have done my homework.
“I was shocked. I thought it was a mistake.”