Getting cancer is expensive and it’s a shitty part time job dealing with all the bills.

How’s that for a title?

A week or so after being diagnosed with cancer, I knew I was going to be inundated with medical bills. To stay ahead of the onslaught of paperwork, I created a very organized system of folders; Insurance Statements, Medical Bills- Pending, Medical Bills- Paid. All the bills that come in go into the “pending” folder and they stay there until I get a final notice that they need to be paid (no this is not my usual approach to bill payment, but there is a method to my madness).

In between the first bill and the “pay me now or else” final bill, you will receive about a dozen copies of the same bill. You will notice that the first bill is almost always for the full amount (before they submit the claim to insurance) and that each bill that follows shows deductions as the amount is negotiated with the insurance company (and as they work through mistakes). If you pay the full amount right away, good luck trying to get a refund. As new copies of the same bill come in, I replace the new copy with the old one in the “pending folder” so I don’t have a back up of duplicates. Once the insurance payment is fully cleared and the bill is really final, I pay it and move the bill to the “paid” folder. This seemed to be working well.

I got a call tonight from a man named James who “just wanted to take a minute of my time.” I assumed he was probably calling about something election related and was about to blow him off, but he quickly jumped in saying he “had my social security number, address and phone number” and was calling on behalf of Sibley Memorial Hospital as I had an outstanding balance that they sent to collections. WTF! ARG!!! The call was so slimy, you have my social security number? What a shitty thing to say. Anyway, he said he would give me a $150 discount if I would pay the full amount by Friday. I felt like I was being shaken down by a bookie. I checked my files and didn’t see any past due amounts or any letter from this “Nationwide credit corp.” James claimed that this overdue amount was from Jan. 2012 (almost a year ago!)

So now I have to call Sibley tomorrow and figure out why I didn’t know about this. My big fear now is that there are other bills out there, lurking, waiting to pounce on me. Also, I have been in touch with Sibley to pay bills as recently as 2 weeks ago. You would think they could say, oh you also have a $600 overdue amount from January, can you settle that one too. C’mon! I didn’t need to have that conversation with James tonight.

I don’t know how people deal with this shit. I am pretty organized and careful and I guess I don’t have a handle on all the bills. I am pissed.

That is all for tonight.

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