running from debt because i’m a moron

I have this bill and it’s for

Holy assballs, the SWEETEST mustachio just walked in. Must. Maintain. Composure. No joke, he looks kinda like this guy…

Anywho, so I have this unpaid bill. It’s for quite a bit of money. And I can’t exactly say I’m shocked when it shows up in my mailbox month after month, and each month I’ve watched the “30 days late” turn to “60…” to “90…” and now it has finally stopped counting up and is holding steady at “120+ days”, aka reallyreallyeffinglateyou’reluckywehaven’tsentyoutocollections. And so far I’ve kinda been ignoring it, hoping it goes away. Maybe if I don’t open it, it doesn’t really exist. Does that work in real life? This guy says no.

Seriously, the guy’s mustache is BUSHY and I can’t stop giggling. Moving on.

Nope, no it doesn’t work that way. I know this. I don’t not pay bills. I pulled myself out of lots of debt and shitty credit years ago and promised never ever to let myself go to that ugly scary looming-over-your-head-at-all-times place ever again because it took me YEARS to pay off debt and wait for missed credit card payments and such to fall off my record. And now my credit is clean. It’s excellent. It’s nearly perfect, even after having my identity stolen and thousands and thousands of dollars racked up in credit cards opened by some lovely person who stole my wallet in a bar and claimed they were me on store credit applications all over the greater Chicagoland area. That fucker kept me busy, let me tell ya. But I stayed 1 step ahead which was no easy feat, kept my record pristine, and between Scott and me, we could probably be preapproved to buy the world if only our income was slightly higher.

Fun fact #3482: the iPhone auto-corrects “moustache” to “moist ache”. Better than “moist ass” but not as good as “small furry animal trying to eat your lip”.

So this bill has been looming over my head since I first got it. And while I should have absolutely acknowledged it before now, I just wasn’t sure how to go about it because I’m kinda pissed that it even exists but I take full responsibility.

Let me explain.

I have health insurance. Summer is on my plan and has been obviously since she was born. I had to find a pediatrician for her so I asked my OBGYN a few weeks before baby was born and he recommended a practice that is literally the next door down from them. So I called them and asked that they send one of their doctors to do Summer’s newborn checkup, tests, and shots and whatever else she needed at the hospital. The other option was to just use the hospital pediatrician that happened to be on call that day and then choose our own pediatrician once we got out of the hospital. But we went with the doc that my doc recommended and we absolutely LOVED her. The second day we were at the hospital they sent another doc from that practice and we LOVED her, too. What a great referral! So we set up the baby’s 1 week and 2 week appointments with them as well because we were smitten.

Oh my, I just got up to use the facilities and he’s still here. There’s a mustache right around the corner and I can’t stop staring.

So we took her to both appointments and each time we arrived at the office, the receptionist asked for my insurance card, photocopied it, and took my $30 copay and that was that. And when we were leaving, we scheduled our 2 month appointment for August. And then it came. A bill for 4 doctors, 4 visits, just shy of $800 because they aren’t in my insurance network. I. Am. So. Stoooopid. I’m used to the PPO plans that I’ve had my entire life where pretty much every doctor everywhere is sure to be in the network, and didn’t think even just once to see if these doctors were in my shiny new HMO network that I switched to a few months before because I’d soon be paying for me, Summer, and Scott and it was half the cost of the PPO. Had I bothered to check, I would have IN A HEARTBEAT taken her to a doctor in the network, paid my $30 and not a penny more. And like I said, I take full responsibility for not checking first. But. BUT! Why the fuck did the receptionist take my card and my copay if they don’t accept my insurance???? I worked at a doctor’s office for 2 years and if we didn’t take someone’s insurance, we let them know before the appointment and told them they’d have to pay cash on their way out. That’s just how it worked. Apparently this office falls under the “don’t ask, don’t tell” philosophy. So I blame myself. But I’m not gonna lie, I blame them, too. So I’ve ignored the bill, I’ve put it on my desk at the bottom of the pile of receipts and scrap paper and penpal notes, turned off the office light and closed the door behind me, secretly hoping it would just go away.

The guy that’s here has to be in his late 20’s but he seriously looks dusty. Trying to figure out what look he’s going for other than 1960’s porn star.

They actually called me for the first time 2 nights ago and when Scott motioned for the phone I got big-eyed and said something like, “DON’T ANSWER THAT! WE OWE THEM A TON OF MONEY!!” And that was the moment I realized I was back in the place I told myself I’d never ever go again. The land of hiding from phone calls and ignoring bills and pretending I didn’t owe anyone anything except for a big fat smile. And I was mad at myself for being there so I kicked myself in the ass, bit the bullet and decided to call them back.

The next day of course.

So when I called on my way home from work last night and laid it all out there to the poor woman on the other end of the phone line, I actually got a little teary-eyed while explaining the situation and telling her that I would have taken her to a different doctor if I had known because why would I choose to pay $800 over $30 for a doctor I’ve never met if I didn’t have to and I don’t have the money to just pay it right here and now because I was on maternity leave for 3 months with no pay and it was hard enough paying our regular bills let alone unexpected ones and I didn’t understand why they took my copay if they don’t take my insurance and is there anyway they could discount the bill or at the very least put me on some sort of payment plan?

Breathe….breathe….

Giggle…giggle…

And wouldn’t ya know it, she transferred me to her office manager and I had to repeat my same sad sob story into dead air when the manager’s voice mail picked up. And of course the office manager called me back when I wasn’t near my phone. Seriously, what does it take to get a freaking bill taken care of? I had finally built up the courage to confront this bill head on that I had tried to avoid for months and damn them for not taking care of it right away. I kid. Karma and I are buds. So where does all this lead, you ask? Um, are you actually still there? So I got a call back this morning and I’m completely confused.

Um, yeah, I owe $79.

This awesome woman called me to tell me that my insurance actually paid everything but $79. Apparently their doctors were the doctors on call the day Summer was born so whether I had called to have them come see her or not, they would have seen her anyway. And she told me that as a patient giving birth, no matter what insurance you have, you have no control over what doctor is on call and most insurance companies will pay 100% of your hospital pediatrician bills, network or not. And apparently they will also more times than not pay 100% of any baby appointments for the first 30 days. What. The. I still have no idea why I have been getting this bill in the mail month after month, though to be fair I haven’t actually opened the envelopes for the last 3. I figured the first 3 were enough for me to believe I knew what the rest would say. Apparently I was wrong.

I wonder if this was maybe the universe’s way of reminding me of the horrible feeling of debt and avoidance and denial without actually getting me there, like a little booster shot to the lesson I learned a while back. Moral of the story? Don’t run from debt, it’s not EVER as bad as it seems, no one is going to yell at you or call you names if you decide to tackle it, sometimes you may actually get a little surprise or be able to negotiate a little, and in the end it seriously feels so much better to have it taken care of. All I know is that I’m finding the mustache guy ridiculously funny right now and I think it has to do with a certain weight that was lifted this morning.

He concurs.

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7 Comments

Filed under craziness

7 responses to “running from debt because i’m a moron

  1. Oh man, I bet that was stressful – I’m so glad it ended up being not a big deal!

  2. m@7.7.11

    Whoa mama. I live in Canada so I don’t understand a lot of this but I am very glad that this all worked out! What a nightmare. I wonder what would have happened if you paid the $800 then they realized you only owed $79…..

  3. Not that I like you being stressed, but this kind of made my day. It was the happy ending. 🙂 The past few days I’ve been watching and watching and re-watching videos of JFK’s assassination; they’re gory, even for old videos, and it saddened me very much when I saw Jackie reaching back and grabbing handfuls of her husband’s head. I cried. So, thank you for making me giggle, Nachos! You brighten my day more than I could state.

    • Aw, that image just made me so sad, I’m happy my happy ending made your day a little better 🙂 You need to turn off those videos and turn on some ABC Family cheesy Christmas movies, stat!

  4. Simona

    Great story! So happy it had a happy ending! And to answer the previous poster’s question about what would happen if you paid the $800 when you only owed $79? Most likely, nothing. The insurance co. would’ve kept that money.

  5. So glad it worked out! I HAAATE insurance companies and their ridiculous, confusing policies. They make me so nervous to deal with!!

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