Friday, December 25, 2015

TRA Medical Imaging

If you can help it, don't do business with TRA Medical Imaging. They're associated with St. Anthony Hospitals to do the evalution of MRI's. CT scans, etc., but you don't know this until you get the notice from them and your health insurance if they're in your plan or not.

This is important because they may or may not be covered, and if so, may or may not be a preferred provider. And this is where I don't recommend them. I had a MRI on my lower back at St. Anthony Hospital in Gig Harbor since they're the closer than Swedish hospital in Seattle where I normally go for tests.

The test was in late May and in July I got the bill from TRA Medical Imaging for the full amount of $241 they billed the health insurance company. The problem is they sent the bill to me before they sent the claim to my insurance company where TRA as a preferred provider, meaning they pay a fixed amount minus my co-pay.

I sent TRA a letter I'll pay after I get the statement from the insurance company of my co-pay. A week later I get the bill again with a letter threatening to send it to a collection agency if I don't pay. This is still before the insurance company acted on the claim. I paid the bill.

A month later I got the statement from the health insurance they paid their amount, which was about  third, $75, of the amount I was billed and I only owed TRA about $11, not the original bill of $241. I called TRA and the representative confirmed my payment, the health insurance payment, and my co-pay, and the fact I was due a refund of $230, which they said should arrive within about 2 weeks.

A month later I called to be told I was still due a refund but the department which issues the check is in another state and has their own review process, despite the department in charge of account approving the refund. They said they would prompt the check department again.

I called month later, but this time they said the health insurance company requested a reimbursement of the amount they paid. I told them I had not received a notice of denial of the amount they paid and I owed the whole bill, and would not recieve a refund.

I asked them to review the bill and I'll contact the health insurance company to confirm it was paid and if or not they sought reimbursment. They agreed to check the account. I hadn't gotten around to calling the health insurance company for a number of reasons, but yesterday (12/24/15) I got the refund.

The story is that TRA is no different than Multi-Care when it comes to money, which is bill the patient before filing any claim, and if they don't pay, threaten them. My experience with Multi-Care is the same, I've always had to go back to fight their demand for payment before the insurance company has acted on the claim, if they even filed a claim.

The lesson for me was never use St Anthony and their system, even though they are a preferred provider, because they charge too much and charge the patient first and then sort out the insurance. In short, they want their money without regard for the patient and their health insurance.

Recently I went back to Swedish Hospital for a CT scan and in 10 years of going to them and their doctors, I have never had a problem with a claim or payment. Swedish is a drive for me, especially battling Seattle traffic and parking, but they will always be where I go. Lesson learned.

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