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.

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