Remember that time back in December when I was having esophageal spasms that were like bacon frying in my chest, and I was transferred to the hospital via ambulance, and the whole thing was related to panic and post-trauma approaching the anniversary of December 23?
Well, I got the bill for that luxury ride. Just a bit over one thousand dollars.
When I see a bill like that, I wonder why I didn't freaking drive myself to the blasted hospital. And then I remember that I couldn't sit up or speak, and I give myself a little grace as I dip into my savings account.
Before they received my payment, they sent me a second bill; the two envelopes passed each other in postal cyberspace. But here's the deal: the second bill was for eight hundred.
I had just paid one thousand.
Just give me a moment to make a phone call here. Do I owe another eight hundred? Or did I overpay? Is there money coming back to me? Let's all cross our fingers and hope on cherry sundaes.
I spoke with the operator, and she said, "Oh, I see, so you have two bills then?"
"Yes. The first is for $1000, and the second is for $800."
"Well, that's a conractual adjustment. That's all."
"Can you tell me more about that?"
"Sure. When we work with an insurance company, we make contractual adjustments to the total cost. So that $200 isn't actually real money paid."
"Well, it's real money that I paid."
"It's just a contractual adjustment, ma'am."
"I'm so sorry - and please forgive me - but I have no idea what that means right now. I paid the bill, but then I received a second one for two hundred dollars less. So, as I see it, if I had waited two weeks to pay the bill, it would have cost me two hundred dollars less."
"Ma'am, if I were you, I'd pay the eight hundred instead of the one thousand."
Well, you and I think alike. "The problem is, I already paid the higher bill."
"Then your balance is paid in full."
"Well, more than full, I think. I paid two hundred dollars more."
"Oh, so you're wondering who will receive the refund for the extra money you paid?"
A break through. "Yes."
"Well, it will either be you, or the insurance company, or it's just a contractual adjustment."
"And how could we narrow down which one?"
She's going to talk to her supervisor and return my call.
Contractual Adjustment. Please. I'll Contract your Adjustment.