Sleeping like a Baby

Dear Jewish Fairy Godmother:

I’ve had insomnia that’s getting worse as I age. Many people I know
have been diagnosed with sleep apnea, which I think of as the
“disease du jour.” I’m resentful of becoming part of a diagnostic fad.
On the other hand, each of them claims they’ve never slept or felt
better since treatment. I went to Dr. Miracle (what they call her!!) and
she ordered a diagnostic test: a night at the sleep center hooked up to
97 electrodes, video taping my movements, etc. The first time the test
it didn’t work. I couldn’t take the drugs they wanted to give me
because they make me puke. Plus, I was so discomboobalated from all
the wires and being told I had to sleep on my back that I was a
nervous wreck. After four hours I never went under. They sent me
home, assured me I wouldn’t be charged, and that Dr Miracle would
order different meds for a second try. My insurance doesn’t mind
paying, but my co-pay is $500 and I do mind paying it twice, since the
hospital technician was the one who told me I wouldn’t be charged.
How do I get out of paying the first bill? I don’t mind paying for the
test that worked, because now I am:
Sleeping like a Baby

Dear Sleeping:
Here’s a draft of your letter to the hospital:

Dear Billing Department: On [date X] I arrived at [time] for a [test
name] ordered by Dr. Miracle. I came fully ready to participate,
following all the preparatory instructions I had been given by the
doctor’s staff. I cooperated fully with all the procedures to get me
ready for the test. However I was unable to take the pre-procedure
medication; if I had, I would have vomited all over your lovely testing
room and high-tech equipment. I tried to get to sleep for four hours
until the technician stopped the test. She sent me home, assured me
that I would not be charged for the failed attempt, and that the
doctor’s office would contact me about a change of procedures for a
second try. I have since successfully completed the diagnostics on
[date y]. Under Dr. Miracle’s care I am receiving ongoing treatment for
my sleep disorder. My insurance company is willing to pay the bulk of
your charges because of your contract with them. I do not think I
should have to pay the co-insurance because it was your technician
who stopped the first procedure, and also your technician who assured
me I would not have to pay for the failed attempt. Please confirm in
writing that this charge will be expunged from my record.


You may have to get your insurer to back you up, but if you are
stubborn you should prevail.