Woman Tweets Harrowing Experience Of Mad American Health Billing Warning Others About It
American billing can be crazy at times. It can be frustrating to the point of screaming at someone and this is just what one woman experienced. But Aminatou Sow, rather than bear it up decided to let others know about it through a series of tweets on twitter. Sow who hosts the podcast “Call your Girlfriend” had been scheduled for surgery. The hospital called her to pay her part of the bill in advance even though she had a $4000 deductible, yet the hospital asked her for an upfront payment of the entire amount. This is a classic example of the madness of American health billing.
1Aminatou Sow faced a harrowing experience when scheduled for surgery
Sow then recalled the entire episode on twitter where she begins by saying “Case in point: I’m scheduled for surgery tomorrow morning. It’s been on the books for weeks. I’ve gone through extensive pre-testing and have followed up with the hospital every step of the way.” She continued by explaining how she received a call a day before surgery to confirm the time she needed to show up. She got her check-in time, organized her paperwork and even spoke to her insurance agent. She was all set “Yup all good”.
2Blackmail at the last moment
The hospital then warned Sow that if the upfront payment wasn’t made, she would not be allowed for surgery. She had expected to make the payment this year. The act was in poor taste to say the least.
3She never expected such an arbitrary action at the last moment
Sow knew that the upcoming surgery was going to be a costly one but she least expected to get a call from the hospital at the last moment asking her to pay money. It lacked consideration proving how medical facilities are all about money and no care.
4She insisted on completing all formalities to avoid problems
Sow reveals how she kept asking the hospital regarding the payments saying that as a black woman, she didn’t feel she could trust them enough not to create problems at the last moment. No one mentioned anything about paying the deductible upfront “Nobody said a peep about paying the deductible upfront. Also, this is so mercenary. Pay or no care for you”.
5Not everyone can afford it
She then says she asked the woman to explain the procedure but says it was downright disgusting and would be a real problem to those who couldn’t afford it.
6Frustrating and can leave those who can’t afford it in a helpless situation
Of course, Sow had the means to pay the upfront but she explains how frustrating the entire procedure was which she is justified in saying so. Why would a hospital harass any patient scheduled for surgery at the last moment? What about people who can’t pay the amount?
7Not an isolated incident but common practice
Such problems aren’t a unique incident only involving Sow; American hospitals are habituated in getting patients to bear the costs for their surgeries and procedures. That’s the American Healthcare system for you. She calls the entire system a dirty game because although you have insurance, you are still treated like dirt.
8Hospitals should follow ethical practices
Sow says that she asked the caller to explain the regulations to her. Although she says it may be ok for hospitals to ask patients to pay the up-front but there should be an ethical way to do it and calling someone just before their surgery is pathetic. “I calmly ask her to walk me through the regulations that stipulate this. I understand why hospitals want to be paid upfront but it is disgusting to do it this way and withhold care from people who need it”.
9Who is Aminatou Sow?
Aminatou Sow is a businesswoman and host of the podcast “call your girlfriend”. Based in the US she is also a digital strategist, writer and co-founder of Lady Tech Mafia. Born in Guinea, Sow was a child of diplomat parents where she ultimately immigrated to the US and is currently staying there.
10Why are such things happening?
A report in Reuters last year explained that US hospitals don’t want to foot the bill for their patients due to insurance schemes that can’t meet expenses. Hence they have resorted to pre-payment strategies that ask for payment before any scheduled care. Some hospitals are even offering non interest loans. This has led to patients opting for the loans or skipping care entirely.
The affordable care act of 2010 also known as Obama care meant that almost 20 million Americans gained health insurance that in the beginning helped hospitals shrink debts from uninsured patients. But as more and more people began to choose health insurance with low payment costs, the result was high end out of pocket costs when care was actually needed.
11What happens if Obamacare is stopped?
Even if Trump dismantles the system, the plans won’t disappear and many Republicans feel that Americans faced with high medical costs will continue to look for low premium plans. Medical bills are creating massive debts for prestigious medical centers and US hospitals where there was a recorded $36 billion in uncompensated care costs in 2015 alone.
12Who started the ball rolling?
The first health center to experiment with the new strategy was Novant health whose senior director April York was quoted as saying “To remain financially stable, we had to do something,” The Company’s patient default rate decreased from 32% to 12% after it started offering non interest loans. All said and done, the madness of American health billing should stop such practices like the one Aminatou Sow faced. It isn’t becoming of any health care center whose primary goal is to provide health care and save lives.