Monday, August 4, 2008
Help Me Howard: Medical Bill
Medical billing problems are something we can all relate to, but trying to fight the headache over a dead baby is too much for most of us, and doing it while you are pregnant is almost impossible, which is why one South Florida woman turned to Help me Howard with Patrick Fraser.
WSVN -- When we got to Tania's house, she was a little on the pregnant side, very pregnant but not as excited as she should have been.
Tania Paite: "Because of what happened last time. It's just anxiety, a lot of anxiety."
In February 2007, Tania and her husband had a beautiful little girl named Ashley. Right after her birth, doctors decided to run two tests on the infant, the first one brought the bad news.
Tania Paite: "She had a very rare genetic disease called spinal muscular atrophy, which affects the muscles throughout the body."
That day, the doctor decided she did not need to run the second lab test.
Tania Paite: "She basically said that she had canceled the second test in front of us because she picked up the phone and did it in front of us."
Two months later, Tania's husband took their 4-year-old to an Easter party. While they were out, Ashley's heart and lungs started to fail.
Tania Paite: "The nurse called me, and she said, 'I think she is going,' and I said, 'Give her to me, give her to me,' and I held her."
Patrick "You held her when she passed away?"
Tania Paite: "Yeah."
Nine months ago, Tania got pregnant again. She is so afraid something bad will happen, she has not decorated the new boy's room or even put up a crib. Even her little daughter sees the nervousness.
Tania Paite: "Now, Hailey asked me if Brandon's going to die. She goes, 'Do we get to keep him this time?'"
Tania has tried to stay positive to focus on the new baby, but then she got this bill from a lab.
Tania Paite: "Fifteen months later, I receive another bill for the second test which was $2,500."
Tania called her insurance company, they said the bill came too late, and they would not pay. Her doctor wrote this letter confirming she had cancelled that second test. Tania sent it to the company, but, she says, they told her she still had to pay for the test.
Tania Paite: "I don't have the emotional energy to fight because I'm trying to get ready for this baby."
And, as I talked to Tania, I noticed she kept rubbing her belly and looking a little uncomfortable.
Tania Paite: "Because he's moving, and I've been having contractions."
Patrick: "Let me get out of here."
Tania Paite: "You don't want to film it?"
Filming a new baby is not what we came for. Getting a $2,500 lab bill wiped out is. Can we, Howard?
Howard Finkelstein: "It's a terribly sad case, but, legally, it's very simple. Neither Tania or her insurance company has to pay because the doctor cancelled the test. It's that clear."
When I called the company that was supposed to run the second test, they told me they would check into the $2,500 lab bill. The next day they called and told me, "We have the doctors letter, we took care of it, the balance is now zero." Tania's $2,500 lab bill was wiped out, and if you are battling a medical provider, an insurance company, Howard says don't surrender.
Howard Finkelstein: "You can win and this answer is simple also, do not give up, be persistent. Contact different people, send letters in addition to phone calls and be determined to not accept no for an answer if you are right."
Tania Paite: "I am so grateful to Help me Howard and Patrick."
With the bill wiped out, Tania can now relax as much as the mother of a beautiful healthy newborn boy can.
Tania Paite: "This is Brandon Lee. He's is a week old, he's precious."
Patrick Fraser: "Brandon is adorable, and little Ashley won't be forgotten by Tania and her husband. They are going to start holding fundraisers to try and find a cure for spinal muscular atrophy.
There is the website for SMA, if you want to know more about the disease.
By the way, if you are disputing a bill with a medical provider, talk to your company. They can make some calls for you or refer you to someone who can get someone to listen because getting someone who can do something to listen is the key.
Medical mysteries mystifying you? Don't give up, contact us and stay positive. We can barely spell medicine, but we know how to cure your legal ailments.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
EMAIL: email@example.com (please include your contact number when emailing)