Thursday, November 18, 2010

no good deed goes ungarnished

I pay my bills. I'm in debt past my eyeballs, but I pay my bills. Little by little, month by month, they go down. I've never had a utility shut off. I've never been turned over to collection. I've never been sued. I pay my bills.

One year ago my clinic called me about my bill. It was high (following a pregnancy with no insurance, which I paid for in large part with $375 monthly cash copays) and they wanted to set up a payment plan. We made a deal where from that point on they could take a certain amount of money out of my checking account every month without asking first, and in one year, if the money was always there for them, they would wipe off the previous year's interest and fees. Today the lady called me again. Did she call me to wipe off the fees? Did she call me to congratulate me on never missing a payment or on sticking to our deal? No. She called to tell me that clinic policies have changed and if I don't pay $4389.98 within the next ten days my account will be turned over to an agency and I will be required to pay $100 every time I visit the doctor regardless of what the charge is for the visit or what sort of deal my insurance company has with the clinic. That is to say, if I come in for a $40 office visit, and my insurance has that negotiated down to $25, I will have to pay $100 cash to see the doctor. This is my reward for dilligently following through with our agreement, and she called to tell me this 40 days before Christmas.

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