Thank goodness for cooler heads

This week’s Right Hook subject comes courtesy of Mrs. Right Hook.

I hate dealing with a government bureaucratic anything. From my standpoint, I’m just paying another “fee” and filling out another form—neither of which seems to serve any purpose other than to give the government employee du jour a paycheck and cost me time and money. In short, their revenue costs me mine. I hate it.

Anyway, should you be so inclined, what follows is another Right Hook tip toward help, if you ever need it.

Some time ago, the missus was in for some blood work regarding the birth of ankle biter number one. (That would be my son.)

I will spare you the gory details, but suffice it to say, someone between the lab company and the insurance company got their paperwork messed up. And, of course, that ended up being my fault, hence the $1,011.06 bill and the unpleasant telephone calls I’ve been getting ever since.

Those who know me know that when I’m good and pissed off, I am not moving an iota. In short, the netherworld will freeze over before I pony up a dime that I believe isn’t warranted. (It isn’t that I’m cheap, but let me put it this way: Every dollar in my pocket is like one of my children. I want to know where they are at all times, when they leave, and most importantly, when they’re coming back and how many of their friends are coming back with them.)

Anyway, the insurance company claims the lab company billed late, so it’s my fault, and they won’t pay. The lab company claims they billed timely, but I didn’t provide them with this or that, so it’s my fault, and I still owe them. Me? Screw them both: I am not paying squat.

So I get the next round of collection calls. My response? Sue me. And even then, I’m still not paying. (Not even if my hero Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia tells me to.)

Oh, yes, did I mention the lab company’s original bill was $248.50, but somehow that got morphed into $1,011.06? Like I said, when I get pissed … now mind you, this has been going on for almost two years.

Inevitably, it gets transferred to another collection company, and I go through the same happy garbage of letter writing and “proof” of my side of this happy little tale—only to be told I should just pay up or else.

In rides the heroines of the story, which would be Mrs. Hook and one Pauline Gromniak.

Tired of Don Quixote here handling things, Mrs. Hook tracks down the Office of the Governor, Consumer Health Assistance, Bureau of Hospital Patients ( and promptly files a complaint with them. This would be the office responsible for assisting those of us with problems such as the aformentioned. Pauline Gromniak, a quality assurance specialist, looks into the matter, and in short order, the problem is addressed by both the insurance company and the lab company. My cost ends up the original $132.71 that I’m supposed to pay as part of my deductible.

The first question is, why did it take a government agency’s involvement to resolve the whole thing in the first place?

My second question is, should I finally pay the thing off, or do as I’m thinking and send them both a bill for all my time and effort to get the thing resolved in the first place?

(OK, the missus is probably going to read this, so I guess I’ll just write the check.)