About six months ago; my wife went to get assessed for a CPAP machine to help with her sleep apnea and we were quoted a price after insurance of around $200, that’s a price that we could live with. Fast forward about six weeks and we get the bill and the bill isn’t $200, it’s almost five times that amount, $973. I understand quotes are not set in stone, but you’d expect it to be close to the actual cost of service.
We have been in dispute about this for four months, my wife has called a few times, four months ago she left a message and didn’t get a call back. Two months ago, she talked to someone who said the bill was a mistake and the actual cost was $268 and that a new bill would be sent out. We received another bill and it said, yes, that’s right, $973 and it’s now PAST DUE, so today I call them and I finally get an explanation.
I don’t know who my wife talked to about this balance, so I could not name any names in my conversation with Via Christi Home Medical today. What I learned is that most of the balance is a deductible that we had not met on our Blue Cross, Blue Shield of KC insurance. Apparently, the agreement my wife signed stated that projected costs are estimated and is in no way a guarantees the final cost of service.
Obviously, if we knew the cost would be close to $1,000, we would never have agreed to purchase the CPAP machine. We do not have that sort of money laying around and the last few months have been tough financially due to circumstances beyond our control. Now I will have to add another $973 to the already significant balances on my credit cards; our cash-flow is definitely negative at this time.
The worst thing about this whole sorry situation is the hose that connects the CPAP machine to the face mask is damaged which makes it useless as air is leaking from the hose. A replacement would be paid out of pocket as my wife has a new job and doesn’t have primary insurance for a couple more months.
Bottom line; don’t take the word of your medical provider, call your insurance company yourself and check with them before agreeing to and/or signing anything; clearly these medical providers claim to check with insurance and give you an arbitrary figure, while leaving you up a creek without a paddle.
Suffice to say, we will definitely not be using Via Christi Home Medical’s services ever again. Their representative sort of apologized over the telephone saying “I’m sorry IF you felt you had been misled.” As someone who works in marketing / customer relations, I understand these phrases, a token apology without actually accepting any blame. But, those hollow words do not improve our current situation.
This is Via Christi; a company that claims it’s mission is to help the poor. A statement which we know is complete and utter BS from experience. If you can’t pay, they try to force you into high interest loans, then send your account to collections if you refuse. They call themselves a Christian organization; something I call BS on, a Christian organization should not benefit from those less fortunate than themselves.
PS: While looking for a feature image for this write-up; I found that the cost of the CPAP unit was only $449 which includes free two day shipping, now I feel even more aggrieved by this near $1,000 bill.