A few months ago, my mother was discharged (after removal of a small cancer nodule) from a reputable hospital. All is well regarding medical processes. We were presented with the bill on the day of discharge and we paid it. We have an HMO and the limit was reached so we paid the balance as per the bill stated (in excess of the HMO limit). We have an official receipt and the bill as per discharge date indicating the balance is equal to what we just paid that day.
A day after the discharge, a caller (billing officer using a cell phone number) called my mother saying we have an outstanding balance. My mother was quite stressed so I talked with the caller instead. He said there have been an error on the communication between the HMO and the Billing dept. The amounts to be paid by the HMO and the patient were mistakenly switched, and so what we paid a day ago is insufficient. He stated an amount that is supposedly our balance.
An hour or so later, he called again, and said another amount. The error this
time, according to him, is because what had been reflected on the amount he
said an hour ago is the "running bill" and not the final bill.
After a day or two from this call, I went to the complaints department of
this hospital, there were some discussion on the parties involved and I made
a statement that I would not acknowledge another billing after the discharge
date. A few months later I received a letter "from the CEO" asking for us to
pay the "outstanding balance". The letter does not state an explanation of
the internal error and the breakdown of the fees.
We have felt great inconvenience and stress through this situation and we
feel that the problem was in fact between the HMO and the billing department,
or only within the billing department itself and we should not be held liable
over their mistakes.
Anyway the amount we paid in excess of the HMO limit is 30+k on the discharge date. As per what I signed that day (the bill) that is the total remaining balance. And the "actual" balance according to the letter a month later is 70+k so we lack something around 30+k. It's not big money for some, but I think it's a big internal error.