Are you familiar with the newest swear word in our house? EOB. In medical world parlance it stand for Explanation of Benefits. If you have a health care plan, you probably receive these by the dozens if not hundreds.
What are they? I like to think of them as what’s left of Canada’s forests. But actually, every time you visit the doctor, hospital or get a medical test, your health insurance carrier sends you one of these bureaucratic monstrosities that say something like: We pay $0.0 for your $23,000 bill.
Then you get the same thing from the hospital that says, you owe $86,000. And in small print: “This is not a bill.” That, it turns out, comes later and might be for $230. Why the different amounts? Even the experts don’t know, reports The New York Times. And those who have real medical problem get thousands of EOBs.
I suppose I should opt out and look up the things online, but it turns out I need to use them for my health care tax saver account. I just can’t figure out which piece of paper goes with which.
If you’re confused, don’t worry, so are the rest of us. The only thing anyone really needs to know is that they waste a ton of time and space, not to mention trees. I wonder if medical companies’ financial woes stem from the amount spent on postage?
In the meantime, I’m trying to think up a better definition of EOB. So far I can only think Eat Our Bullshit, but I’m sure someone can come up with something more creative.