A patient called regarding a bill for a co-insurance of $40. He advised that he had called his insurance company and they told him he didn’t have to pay that amount. I placed him on hold, and hurriedly pulled the EOB, which clearly showed that he owed a $40 co-insurance. I asked him to tell me who had told him that he didn’t have to pay, but he couldn’t tell me. This patient was intelligent, and was extremely well-spoken. After trying, in vain, to explain the EOB to him, he finally said:

“I can do either of two things: 1. I can pay the $40, and then I will write to the Attorney General of the state and lodge a complaint, and send you a copy of my complaint, or 2. You can write off the bill, and I will not write to the Attorney General.”
I was on firm ground, but I still checked with the client who agreed that we should not back down. I was surprised that the patient thought we would be intimidated by his empty threat. Does he really believe that the Attorney General has time to investigate $40 complaints? In any case, we received a check for $40 from the patient, and six months later, were still waiting for a copy of his complaint to the Attorney General.
Contributed by Bruno Stillo, Physiatry Billing Specialists, 800-835-4482 [email protected]