I just found out I've been uninsured since January.
I was hospitalized for 2 days last week in the ICU: they thought I was having a stroke but it actually was a severe migraine. A couple days after discharge the hospital informed me that I have been uninsured since January and was responsible for a $10,000 bill. HR had mistakenly canceled my Blue Cross/Blue Shield. Am I responsible for this? Admittedly I have never really scrutinized my pay checks' deductions and didn't notice anything amiss.
Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
If it is your employer's fault, then they need to retroactive your coverage with your insurance carrier. Once your coverage is reinstated, the medical providers will need to re-submit the claims to your insurance carrier. They should then be covered by your insurance.
One thing though. Has your employer been taking out your premium coverage from your paycheck? If not, then you may have a problem since it was your responsiblity to make sure your employer was taking out your contribution.
Good luck. (yes, I work for a health insurance carrier)
Have you gone back and checked your deductions? I don't know how well it will turn out but try and fight it.
Find out why they canceled it in HR.
Explain to HR management what has happened.
Try and find out from your insurance if they would reinstate you to current if HR gets the payments in.
Explain to the hospital what happened and do not agree to pay anything until you get answers about about your insurance.
I hope it works out. Stay on it.
If your employer mistakenly cancelled your coverage, it is their responsibility. In fact they may have insurance to cover them or this mistake - it's called Employee Benefits Liability Coverage as part of their general liability coverage. Definitely present the bill to HR and tell them that since they cancelled your coverage, it is their problem - minus any deductibles hat your would have otherwise paid. Good luck op.
Many thanks for the responses. Yes they stopped taking the premium deduction and no I didn't notice. I have such a long, confusing list of deductions and I don't focus too much on it as I find it depressing--to my huge detriment, it turns out. I'm embarrassed at my stupidity but still don't think I should be responsible for this bill (less the money that would have come out of my paychecks, of course). Thanks for the information about HR's liability insurance, R4, it's good to know.
This is an awful city hospital with crap pay and a Kafka-esque administration: the only reason people work here are for the great benefits package. What a joke.
My insurance coverage automatically rolls over for the next year unless I fill out paperwork to change it. If that is how your company does it then it is their fault and they should give you retroactive coverage.
This just happened to a friend of mine. If your documentation shows you should have been covered, then the mistake will be corrected.
R2 here again. Another thing, while this mess is being sorted out between your employer an your insurance, contact the hospital and any other medical providers for which you may have a claim owed. Tell them the situatin and that it is being corrected with your insurance carrier (assuming this will happen). If you are threatened with collections (and a mark against your credit score), then make a payment arrangement where you are not paying them very much money. This will keep the wolves from your door. They have to agree to some sort of payment schedule. Keep very good records of any payments. Once this is cleared up and the insurance pays, figure out how much you have already paid versus what you legitimately owe with copyaments/deductible/coinsurance. If you have overpaid, then the hospital will refund the difference to you once they receive payment from the insurance company.
[quote]Am I responsible for this?
God forbid anyone should be responsible for their own life.
OP is the reason why everyone's health insurance is so expensive.
We're all expected to pay for his "free" hypochondriac hospital visits.
I think this was deliberate. The company will say your failure to notify them of your missing deduction constitutes approval of their action.
You will have to sue, but you should.
The employer cannot claim OP purposely stopped his insurance coverage unless it can produce a signed document from OP indicating he chose not to elect coverage effective January 1. The employer is obligated to have OP's signature on a form on file waiving his benefit coverage.
Really, with direct deposit and online paystubs it would be very easy not to notice the deduction missing.
R12, your contributions have been invaluable. Thank you so much.
I appreciate the other helpful replies as well. Thanks for letting me enjoy a more peaceful holiday weekend (even though I'm working).
How many deductions could you possibly have that would make them so confusing?
Plus, didn't you notice that your salary had bumped up quite a bit after the health insurance deduction was stopped? Where did you think that extra money came from?
Good luck anyway.
r15, My paycheck wasn't always consistent. We would get awards or gift cards (a taxable event) or hit the Social Security max or max out the 401k, etc. And, with direct deposit and online paycheck stubs I didn't always pay attention to the paycheck amount.
I could see how OP could not notice.
No. It is not his fault. Quit pointing your finger at people just like you and point your finger up towards the wealth at the top.
Health care is so expensive because we are all required to pay enormous subsidies to Big Pharma, thousands of dollars for medication that costs pennies to make.
Health care is so expensive because we have to pay thousands of dollars to private insurance companies so billionaire investors and hedge funds can make profits from the stock.
Health care is so expensive because private investors control chains of private, for profit hospitals, clinics, and nursing homes. Everything is charged out at cost plus profit instead of just cost.
Then there are the executives of the health industry who make hundreds and thousands what the average worker makes.
There is the advertising industry that spends billions pushing drugs onto doctors and the public.
So, no, it is not the fault of someone with a significant medical condition getting it checked out.
I work in Payroll so what R12 said. Even if the staff verbally requested it we wait for a signed document before we act on it.
I would look into physician assisted suicide. Hopefully your covered.
Your employer should be able to help sort this out.
I believe there always has to be a written notification (I worked in Health Insurance a while back).. This is exactly the type of situation a good union can hande.
OP, can you hold off paying until January? Obama's free health care kicks in in 2014.
R22. You know this is not universal healthcare coming in 2014, right?
OP believe it or not this kind of "clerical error" happens all the time. Your employer is responsible. Get a letter from HR acknowledging the error send a copy of it to your insurer and to the hospital billing department, and tell the hospital billing department that any further concerns about the bill should be sent to your insurance carrier for reimbursement.
$10.000 for two days hospital stay?....my god, thank goodness I do live in the USA.
R25 my mother was in the hospital for a routine procedure for five days, two of which were because they couldn't schedule one of the doctors in advance. Total cost: over $100,000.
Of course if she didn't have such good insurance they would have kicked her out after 20 minutes.
Oh and here's the other thing. Her insurance covered 20% and Medicare 80%. Medicare paid that bill by wire transfer in less than five days. It's all a scam at the expense of the taxpayers. The hospital she stayed at has built more than half a billion dollars worth of new buildings in the last ten years.
They are medical bills, not school loans. take up bankruptcy as soon as possible. Just make sure you have a couple of clean credit cards. Don't pay that shit.
R22, there will be no free health insurance or free healthcare under the new Obama plan.
You will be required to buy your own health insurance if you are not employed, and you will still be paying part of the insurance premiums if you are employed.
If you are very low income, there will be some government assistance to help you purchase health insurance.
Anyone without health insurance will be fined a small sum.
Hospital bills are ridiculous. Insurance companies do everything they can to keep from paying anyway. Frankly, we need single payer or medicare for everyone.
And to add to r30, one of the changes is that insurance companies can no longer deny "preexisting conditions" or charge exponentially more for people who have them, and they also cannot charge women more than men.
In addition, 80% (I believe) of the money taken in for premiums must be spent on care and if it is not, all customers will get a pro-rated rebate.
You're right that we need single-payer (just like the rest of the industrialized Western world), but this is at least an improvement.
Just to keep those interested updated: still no response from the Benefits Office, but my union rep assured me the union would engage a lawyer for me if they had to sue my hospital at no expense to me and today I received new GHI and Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield cards with a form letter saying "here they are" and telling me to get rid of the old cards. I have also not heard from Patient Accounts, who were calling me daily about the large amount I owed.
Still, I won't be able to find out anything definitive until business hours tomorrow.
Why would you sue the hospital?
Because the hospital is his employer, R34.
This is what he wrote previously:
[quote]This is an awful city hospital with crap pay and a Kafka-esque administration: the only reason people work here are for the great benefits package. What a joke.
I had something similar happen with a dental bill once. I went from one job to another, and both used United Healthcare. But some asshole cubefrau couldn't handle the paperwork and I was dropped- but never reinsured. Didn't find out til I received the dental bill and I was not covered by anyone.
I kept calling the current employer and they kept telling me it was their mistake and I should have been insured when I had my appointment. And they were going to pay it, but they never did. I paid with my own money.
So many people on this thread are sheep. "Oh, I must be cancelled because the insurance company said I was."
Or, from another thread, "I guess I have to pay the late fee on my credit card as my 5:30 payment was received after 5 pm on the due date."
You people are idiots. One simple call will change this. They're only trying to get more money out of you.
R37, it's a lot more than one simple call. It's tons of calls as well as a lot of emails, all of which go ignored while threatening letters from Accounts Payable come every other day. Do you know what hospitals do? They send you a bunch of dunning letters while siccing an intra-hospital collections agency on you who make your life miserable. They lie and say they're a real collections agency. They call you a lazy deadbeat and tell you they're going to ruin your credit. After enough dunning letters are documented, they write the whole thing off and don't bother you again. That's what the insurance specialist at my hospital told me.
I'm disgusted. I work like a dog--like everyone at my hospital--and management screws you at every turn. Fortunately, at the mention of legal action, HR magically resolved the problem and Blue Cross Blue Shield is taking care of the bill. Many posters here had invaluable advice which I used in my correspondence and thank you very, very much. I've signed up for several continuing ed classes, will get certified in ECT and go to another hospital for more money and hopefully better treatment.
Don't pay. Hang tight, stall, negotiate, blame others, hide, change your phone, don't pay, medical should be free by law!
[quote]Do you know what hospitals do? They send you a bunch of dunning letters while siccing an intra-hospital collections agency on you who make your life miserable. They lie and say they're a real collections agency. They call you a lazy deadbeat and tell you they're going to ruin your credit. After enough dunning letters are documented, they write the whole thing off and don't bother you again. That's what the insurance specialist at my hospital told me.
Bitch, please. I owe two huge ER bills, one from four years ago for $12K and the other last year for nearly $4K. I received two nasty letters on the first one and that's it. They may have tried to call me, but I never answer phone calls if I don't recognize the number, and they haven't left any messages.
That said, my credit already sucks, so maybe they just figured out they had no chance of getting a dime out of me. In any event, the hospital insurance specialist was just trying to put a scare in you. The only debt you absolutely HAVE to pay is taxes (income and, if applicable, property). Remember that Al Capone and Wesley Snipes went to jail for failing to pay theirs, the latter for four or five years.