Medical bills are a major headache — and for many Americans, they’re actually a huge financial burden. Roughly 100 million U.S. adults have accumulated healthcare debt, according to a report published earlier this year. About 12 percent of those 100 million people owe $10,000 or more.
One Redditor knows this struggle firsthand. Determined to keep her family out of the hole, user @dingussdaisy successfully fought a massive medical bill mailed to her boyfriend. But her BF wasn’t a fan of how she went about nulling his healthcare debt. Now, she’s turning to the famed /AmITheAsshole Subreddit for unbiased insight into the whole situation.
The story begins with a “truly ridiculous bill” in the thousands for her BF’s recent trip to the ER. “I offered to fight the bill for [my boyfriend] because I’ve done it before, and he said sure,” @dingussdaisy recalled. “I went all-out because honestly, if we were out 5 grand after insurance, that would fuck up our holiday plans pretty bad.”
Going “all-out” meant getting an itemized bill of everything they were being charged for, calling the billing department to dispute the cost, and bouncing around a call center “for hours” trying to talk to a human being. (As a note, these are all very standard ways of fighting an astronomical medical bill.)
When all that failed, @dingussdaisy pulled the plug and began researching the 30 “most influential people” at the hospital where her BF was treated. Once she had their contact info, she “sent a few emails” every single day asking them to justify “billing at a rate 7 times higher than the national average,” progressively working her way up the chain of command.
And get this — her tactic worked! “Well, once I’d done all that (which was honestly only like 15 minutes a day), they reduced the bill… from $5,000 to $26,” she wrote. “Yep, 26 fuckin’ dollars.”
At first, @dingussdaisy’s BF was “blown away” and deeply appreciative of her persistence. But his tone changed when he asked to see how she got his bill reduced.
“He told me I went way too far,” she recalled. “He was expecting me to dispute through their billing department or something ‘normal’ and ‘reasonable’ like that, not internet-stalk every single manager and board member and investor and harass them into dropping the bill. I was frustrated because I’d just saved us 5 grand, actually made it possible for us to afford a nice Christmas and save some money, and he was mad at me because I’d been a bit of a hard-ass?”
In news that will come as no surprise to anyone who’s ever tried to fight a medical bill, Redditors in the comments universally had @dingussdaisy’s back.
“You are a friggin’ rock star and should be a damn professional advocate for those who get ripped off in healthcare like this,” one commenter wrote. “Your boyfriend is so unappreciative and is clearly clueless on how diligent you need to be to challenge an erroneous bill.”
Some Reddit users also highlighted the undercurrents of misogyny and tone-policing in her BF’s judgmental comments.
“This reminds me of the post from a few weeks ago where the OP has a side business being a hard-ass for people buying vehicles, and her bf/fiancé asked her to help him with his new vehicle and then freaked out when she turned out to be an actual badass,” one person opined. “I feel like the men in both situations are responding from fragile masculinity and not really reacting to what actually happened.”
“If your BF doesn’t appreciate the amount of effort you put into reducing his bill, you can always invoice him for the work,” another user quipped. “Might I suggest $4,974 dollars as a decent amount?”
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