I'm Forrest Carr, novelist, blogger, land snark, and former TV news director and talk radio host. I tackle politics, cats, the media, paranormal psychology, dreams, God, guns, evolution, rat bastards, and anything else that might make you think or laugh, maybe even simultaneously. And, oh yeah, I have cancer, which makes me the Walter White of bloggers. You have been warned.
Monday, July 21, 2014
Monday Dollop of Displeasure: The Medical Bill
not late with my payment.So why are
these people yelling at me?
As a general rule, I pay bills once
a week.That way I can be assured 99% of
the time that the payment will get where it needs to go on time, and that I won’t
get a nastygram in the mail from a creditor.The latter still does happen on occasion due to bills getting lost in
the mail.But it’s rare.
As I was going through the joyous stack
of little window envelopes this weekend, one bill really stood out.It was from Labcorp, which does bloodwork and
other lab testing.Next to the address
window, in big, red, all-cap letters, were the words, “HEALTHCARE INVOICE.”And beneath that were the words, in big,
bold, black all-cap letters, “OPEN IMMEDIATELY.”
I thought, what the hell?“OPEN
IMMEDIATELY?”Really?What, am I late with a payment?I peeked through the blinds to see whether
there were any dark sedans parked nearby.Is someone about to claim one of my organs in payment?Or are these people just of the belief that their
bill is more important than any other in the stack—so important that it merits
attention RIGHT THIS DAMNED MINUTE?
Putting a communication in all caps
is the modern day equivalent of raising your voice.And at this point I was wondering what I had
done to merit being yelled at.
I then reviewed my payments in my
mind.Nope, I’ve paid every bill I
received from these and several other medical vendors promptly upon receipt—and
believe me, there have been a bunch.Bills are still coming in from medical treatments I received six months
ago during my crisis with kidney cancer.But I’ve paid them all.
And at this point, I started to get
angry.I’ve never received a bill
trumpeting this kind of demand on the envelope from any company at any time for
any reason—not even when a bill has been past due.
Admittedly, of all the
things on planet Earth to get worked up about, a bill that screams “HEALTH
INVOICE OPEN IMMEDIATELY” would not seem to merit placement anywhere near the
top of the list.But on second thought, it damned well
does.This little display of random, impersonal rudeness
may be small, but taken in the context of the zillions of other little slaps we
all receive every day that collectively remind us of how small, voiceless and
unimportant we all are in the scheme of things, it’s intolerable.Each of us deserves more respect than that.
And add to that, this:the outside of the envelope is public.What business is it of anyone else’s that I’m
receiving a bill for a medical service—especially a bill that loudly, and
publicly, demands immediate
I opened the bill this morning live
on my PowerTalk 1210 radio show.The bill is not past due.Care to guess the date of the service for
which I’m being invoiced?Or the huge amount
they’re demanding that I drop everything right this moment and pay?You can hear the clip for yourself below; it’s
about two minutes in length.Toward the
end, I make a rather pointed suggestion to the company.
In the immortal words of Howard Beale—well,
never mind.Look it up.
I ain’t done yet. Stay tuned.This is going to be fun.