October 13, 2009

The One with the Lesson in Finances

This is me waiting for my husband to get home.
And hoping the dinner I prepared is as delicious as I've been imagining.
I baked a loaf of Kevin's favorite bread.
And there's a large pot of black bean soup simmering on the stovetop.
I love black bean soup.
Especially Panera's.
So this is me having really high expectations for
1) the new recipe.
2) my culinary abilities.
I'll let you know how it turns out.

Here's something I've been meaning to talk about for quite some time.
The premise is this: never pay a bill unless you are 100% certain it is correct.
Though utility bills ebb and flow, you still ought to be aware of the total before paying.
ATT, Comcast, or other phone/internet/cable companies increase this charge or that all the while hoping you won't take notice.
ALWAYS take notice.
Compare past bills and figure out with the fees are being added on.
And if it doesn't make sense or if you were quoted at, say $90, and your bill is now $125 there is a problem.
And you need to call.
And give them heck.
Be prepared to threaten to cut off service with them.
That'll change their tune.
I'm pretty sure I have the lowest three-fold bundle plan in America thanks to my rigorous efforts with customer service.
Automatic payments are, in my opinion, not the best idea in any of these cases.
Having money automatically removed from your bank account without checking over costs can get risky.
And just plain expensive.

This was the case with a bill I received in the mail back in April.
I had gotten (what I thought to be) routine blood work done.
I was told this was a necessary precursor to my endoscopy.
I didn't question the doctor.
Soon I found a bill from a laboratory in California stating that my insurance had denied the claim and I owed them $295.
WHAT did you just say?!
Ummm, that is so not gonna happen.
Something was seriously wrong.
I called the lab.
I called the insurance company.
I called the lab again.
I called the insurance company. again.
None of which were enjoyable phone calls.
I finally found out that the lab used for this particular special blood indicator was not covered by my insurance.
Ok, great.
Now what.
Please, lady, tell me how to appeal this.
I found myself writing a detailed account of my story to the director of complaints.
Or something like that.
I received a letter back asking for my medical records to be released.
I faxed those in immediately.
I finally received notice that the insurance company was going to cover this cost in this instance only.
(Aka. Don't make that mistake again. Or you're paying.)
I had succeeded.
I had pleaded my case and I had won!
In the mean time I have received 3 more letters from the lab telling me to pay up.
The final letter said if you don't pay NOW we're sending our collectors after you.
This freaked me out for a moment.
But I called the lab and they had just received my insurance payment.

The moral of the story:
Don't ever give up.
Don't ever pay more than you have to.
Don't ever hand over your money unless you know exactly what it's going for.

The end.

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