Offen: The benefit of an explanation
This is not a bill. This is also not an airplane or a cupcake.
This is an explanation of benefits (EOB) from your health insurance company (HIC) concerning the services that were provided by your health care provider (YHCP) on or about two weeks ago from last Thursday (LTH) at about 3:30 p.m. or maybe a little later if it’s that important to you.
Your reference number is 75403267 and your claim number is 309678-3 and the provider’s identification number is 036830 and your account number is 2-46799 and your batting average is .287 with an on-base percentage of .314.
This was the amount that you were billed for the procedure you had even if you didn’t have a procedure but thought you might need one because your right foot is killing you.
This was the amount you were billed for asking your health care providers why they called you by your first name even if you called them doctor or referred to them as your health care providers.
This was the amount you were billed for those special lab tests you took provided by a doctor whose name you’ve never heard of.
This was the amount you saved by choosing a health care provider whose name begins with the letter W.
This was the amount not covered by your plan, not including the co-pay or the co-insurance or the deductible or any birthday gift you may have received.
This was the amount of the discount that you would have gotten if you had bought two procedures instead of one and received the second at 50 percent off. You could have received this health care discount because your health insurance provider works very closely with your health care providers to negotiate health care discounts and to see how many times they can use the word health care in a sentence.
This is the amount you’ve paid toward your network deductible.
This is the amount that remains to be paid to meet your network deductible.
This is the chance you have of making it.
This is the amount we’ll give you if you can figure out what your out-of-network, out-of-pocket, in the side-pocket, hole-in-one deductible really is.
This is the amount you’ve paid in in-network out-of-pocket expenses or in-pocket out-of-network expenses or back-pocket out-of -wallet expenses or hole-in-your-pocket lost quarters and dimes.
Remember, after you have met your deductible, the costs of covered expenses will still all be on your shoulders because that’s just the way it is.
This is the amount you still owe, after your discount and your plan’s payment, your income tax refund and the coins you found under the pillows of the couch. Pay this amount immediately or else we’ll send you another explanation of benefits.
Neil Offen can be reached at email@example.com.