Thursday, February 07, 2008

The attack of Vegetable-Americans

A few months ago I visited a doctor in the US. That was covered under my travel insurance, and I told them (let's call them the New Moron Medical Center) to bill either my insurance or myself. "But you are in Finland and so is your insurance!" - they said. "That's OK, there is a Post office there." - "But we don't know how to bill you there!" - "That's quite easy. Much the same as in the US, except that you write this address here as the address." - "No, we can't. Too complicated. Can you pay with a credit card or something when you are done?" - "Sure, whatever."

A few hours later I am done, and so, unfortunately, is whoever is supposed to accept my payment. The credit-card-taker went home for the day (it's 3pm on Friday), and there is nobody else capable of accepting my payment (the medical center is only about the size of Meilahti hospital). I go back to the same woman with whom I talked in the beginning. "Can't you come here and pay on Monday?" - "No, I am gonna be in Finland by then." I make sure that the woman has my address, instruct her again on the billing procedure: put the bill into an envelope, put the address right here, mail, and then I go away.

Last week I get a bill from a Scary Collection Agency. I call the New Moron Medical Center and ask them WTF. The New Moron Medical Center swears that all the $485 are for the doctor services, and I am not paying anything extra for the collection. Because, you know, they are using the collection agency just because they still haven't figured out this mailing bills to Finland thing. I call my insurance, they tell me to send them the bill and forget about it, which I do. Then I call the Scary Collection Agency and tell them that they'll get their money as soon as the insurance company manages to pay it. They say OK.

The other day I get a similar bill from some Weird Lawyer. Weird Lawyer tells me that my bill is totally overdue and threatens with dire consequences if I don't pay it Right Now. The bill should be paid through him. Suppressing the urge to answer that considering the New Moron Medical Center's amazing skill in mailing abroad, I am quite sure I don't need to be afraid of their suing abroad, I call the New Moron Medical Center again. They tell me that the Scary Collection Agency was supposed to ask for the payment, and the Weird Lawyer is supposed to accept the payment. I point out that both are in fact trying to do both. They tell me that it doesn't matter because they get the payment either way. I warn the Weird Lawyer that the payment will not be going through him.

I have only two questions: how much of these $485 is gonna end up as the payment to the lawyer and the collection agency, and what is the politically correct name for an idiot in the US nowadays? Vegetable-American?

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