A sorry account

The medical profession has achieved a worrying level of efficiency in processing and delivering their accounts (in this country, at any rate). I once arrived home from a short visit to the hospital to find the bill already waiting for me in the post box. Conspiracy theorists have postulated that doctors have developed secret Star Trek transporter technology, but I prefer the ‘enslaved army of leprechauns’* explanation.

Why do I mention this? Well, the other day I received a bill from the doctor. Not exactly a ‘Stop The Presses!!!’ moment, but it was a bit unusual, because I thought it was one that had already been paid. I was a bit irked to see the words “NOW DUE” stamped across the page in bold red letters and underlined seventeen times with blue ballpoint ink. “PATIENT RESPONSIBLE FOR PAYMENT” had been also highlighted in neon green and circled twice for good measure – just in case I’d accidentally swallowed both my eyes and happened to be reading the damned thing through my stomach lining.

Anyway, upon closer scrutiny, it turned out that the medical aid had actually paid the account – just not all of it. The amount still owing was a staggering R10.98**. Oh, the guilt! How am I ever going to live with the knowledge that I have allowed the doctor’s children to starve? All I can do now is find a short sword and hope that painful death will be enough to restore my honour…

* It’s a lot more believable than the likelihood of the Post Office getting a letter across town in less than a week

** In United States money, that’s roughly the equivalent of a dollar and seventy-eight cents. It’s also roughly equivalent to the GDP of Zimbabwe, so I shouldn’t sneer TOO much


20 thoughts on “A sorry account

  1. Thas funny the other day I got a statement from the Dr. with a outstanding amount I could not understand it cause we always pay cash on the spot. So I just phoned to make sure maybe somebody never put it through the system and my money went into their back pocket. Well it was nothing like that they never took it through the system. (Through their mistake I was nearly black listed) My mom got an account last week for R5.20 can you believe that what a waste of money time and effort.


  2. Please, we still want you
    around, Harakiri isn,t
    worth the effort for the
    poor co-ordination be-
    tween Medical Aid, Doctor
    and Patient


  3. My favourite was when the medical aid sent me the payment instead of the dr – $600 – loved that. Unfortunately I was too honest and made them reissue the check to the correct person – damn……


  4. Very Interesting, I was under the impression that all of the South African Doctors had moved here to Manitoba.

    Loved the explanation of Kyk noord en fok voort..my flemish grandfather fok’d voort noord from Belgium to Canada in the 30s because apparently they had a similar but shorter phrase: Kyk Germans!


  5. don’t get me started on medical aid schemes and medical bills. my favourite is when the doctor receives a payment from both the medical aid and the patient – me – for the same amount and then disputes this fact and refuses to pay the patient – me – back!


  6. anne: Poor Fence 🙂

    Fence: Makes sense. Dilemmas are one of France’s biggest exports.

    whatalotoffun: It’s a plot. They’re expoiting the well-documented link between stress and illness to generate repeat business.

    elize: And teeny-tiny flashing lights on their heads.

    Pro & Edel: Oh, I don’t know. Seppuku is a bit like running – it only hurts at first.

    mysfit: I can see the logic in doing so.

    angel: No, no – the Tokoloshes are the ones with the stickers.

    DelBoy: Oh man, you crack me up. Send them via Terri – she’ll have the inside track on the local leprechaun courier service.

    Tammy: Now that’s rare. You should give Ripley’s Believe it or Not a call.

    andrea: A bit awkward, but I think I’m up for the challenge.

    homo escapeons: There’s still one or two left, although for how much longer I couldn’t say – I saw a brochure on my GP’s desk called ‘Canadians Pay Promptly and 101 Other Reasons to Move to Manitoba’.

    eKapa: But of course. A doctor would never lie to a patient, so it must be true.

    kenju: Cynical? Me?


  7. We apparently have the same billing company. Isn’t it great when they lay that guilt on you for an amount less than the postage cost to mail the stupid thing?!


  8. Here they would spend many times the amount of the debt on postsage if you were not prompt in paying…….not that I would know anything about less than prompt payments, of course.


  9. I had the same problem just yesterday. My account came to R8.02, and they sent a lawyer’s letter with it to tell me if it wasn’t paid soon I would have to go to court.
    So I worked out the interest which came to two-and-a-half-cent and paid R8.05 in five cent coins I found in the couch.


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