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mj1
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15 Jul 2021, 2:13 pm

This just happened and frustrated the heck out of me.

The doctor's office called about my father's appointment and how much he'll owe. They were saying that insurance covers 80% and he has to cover 20%. They said insurance covers $1500 and so he'll owe 20% of that which is $300. That's what they said.

My mom heard the message and I'm trying to explain to her that the math is not correct. I knew in my head that something wasn't right, but I could not articulate it to her. It ended up taking 5 minutes and me repeatedly listening to the message before I was able to get out what I was thinking.

I was trying to say that if insurance pays 80%, which is $1500 according to the message, then my father should owe $375, not $300. As the total cost would be $1875 and 20% of that is $375. The receptionist said my father has to pay 20% of the cost, and she said 20% of $1500 is $300. True, but she also said that the insurance pays 80% and that insurance pays $1500. So clearly the math is wrong. So my father could end up paying $375 or possibly more since someone over there does bad math. I probably didn't explain that as well as I could've but at least my mom understood it and is calling her insurance company.

But this kind of thing is a common problem for me and it only gets worse as I get older. Although, I don't think it's a problem of my brain deteriorating as I age. I think it's that life and life's problems get more complex and become more difficult to explain. Things in my life were a lot more simple 20 years ago.

But why is it so difficult for me to articulate my thoughts? I'm not sure, but I think I saw this insurance issue as a picture in my head. I didn't see it in words or didn't think of it in words, if that makes sense. So it's as if I was trying to translate it from a picture/video in my brain to words that come out of my mouth. Things were getting lost in the translation. Why does that happen? I'd really like to try to fix this. I usually get frustrated when I know I can't explain something and end up saying "I don't know" when I actually do. I think some people think I'm really stupid, and sometimes I feel that way. I can pick up on certain complex things that make no sense, I just can't explain to people why they don't.



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15 Jul 2021, 3:12 pm

I have trouble explaining things too, even though I think in words as well as pictures. That's why I get frustrated here when I really want to explain why I think something is so but I just can't put the right words together unless I write a really long ongoing post that probably nobody will bother to read. Sometimes words come rushing into my mind and I can type away a rather pedantic post, but usually my vocabulary isn't as good as a lot of people's here so I very seldom 'win' in anything. Some logical or complicated things are just like trying to explain the colour blue. It does get frustrating.


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16 Jul 2021, 2:06 am

I don't know about your other examples but this example with the percentages suggest that maybe this isn't always your fault.

Sometimes people make mistakes that are so basic, it's difficult to explain what the mistake is. It's like trying to explain why 1+1=2. If you understand intuitively why 1+1=2, you've never had to put it into words, and you've probably never heard anyone explain it in words, you might have trouble putting it into words yourself. It's the kind of concept that is simple, most people have no experience explaining it because they've never needed to explain it. Some concepts (like math) are rarely expressed in words, so people don't have good vocabulary for discussing them.



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16 Jul 2021, 4:35 am

It is when you have thoughts but your thoughts are like an empty bubble with no words in them,and you need to make the thoughts turn into words... Yes.



magz
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16 Jul 2021, 4:41 am

Pictures can help.
In this percentage example, drawing a bar and dividing it 4:1 could make the situation much clearer for some people.


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16 Jul 2021, 5:09 am

magz wrote:
Pictures can help.
In this percentage example, drawing a bar and dividing it 4:1 could make the situation much clearer for some people.


You mean 4 wagons in one siding and one wagon in another sort of thing?



magz
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16 Jul 2021, 5:18 am

Mountain Goat wrote:
magz wrote:
Pictures can help.
In this percentage example, drawing a bar and dividing it 4:1 could make the situation much clearer for some people.


You mean 4 wagons in one siding and one wagon in another sort of thing?

Yes, lovely example.
4 wagons are 80% and one wagon is 20%. Together, they make 100%.
In the 4 wagons, there are $1500.
We need to pay the remaining one wagon.

But, life teaches that it's not necessary to be so adamant about paying more than they say you should. That's the non-Math part of the story ;)


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16 Jul 2021, 10:39 am

mj1 wrote:
They were saying that insurance covers 80% and he has to cover 20%. They said insurance covers $1500 and so he'll owe 20% of that which is $300. That's what they said.

Yes they made a stupid mistake. They said he pays 20% of what the insurance company pays, but he doesn't of course, he pays 20% of the total.

But I'd not have been able to put it that well verbally in real time. I had to ponder that in quiet surroundings with no pressure for a result and no time constraints, and my first draft was very long and unclear. In my case the talk of wagons doesn't help, though I don't say that nobody would find it helpful. All I needed to see was the fact that they used the wrong number as their starting point for calculating the 20% co-payment.

The correct result would be derived as follows:
If the insurance company pays 1500 and that's 80% of the total, then the total is
1500 / 0.8 which is 1875
So he pays 20% of that 1875, which is 375

Reminds me of the elementary mathematics questions we used to get at school. If the staff can't get that right, they're not qualified to do the job.



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16 Jul 2021, 10:49 am

mj1 wrote:
This just happened and frustrated the heck out of me.

The doctor's office called about my father's appointment and how much he'll owe. They were saying that insurance covers 80% and he has to cover 20%. They said insurance covers $1500 and so he'll owe 20% of that which is $300. That's what they said.

My mom heard the message and I'm trying to explain to her that the math is not correct. I knew in my head that something wasn't right, but I could not articulate it to her. It ended up taking 5 minutes and me repeatedly listening to the message before I was able to get out what I was thinking.

I was trying to say that if insurance pays 80%, which is $1500 according to the message, then my father should owe $375, not $300. As the total cost would be $1875 and 20% of that is $375. The receptionist said my father has to pay 20% of the cost, and she said 20% of $1500 is $300. True, but she also said that the insurance pays 80% and that insurance pays $1500. So clearly the math is wrong. So my father could end up paying $375 or possibly more since someone over there does bad math. I probably didn't explain that as well as I could've but at least my mom understood it and is calling her insurance company...
1500 x 0.8 = 1200

1500 x 0.2 = 300

1200 + 300 = 1500

The receptionist is correct.


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16 Jul 2021, 10:56 am

^
Except that the receptionist said the insurance company pays 1800, not 1200.



magz
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16 Jul 2021, 11:03 am

Maybe the receptionist did the Math right but made a mistake when explaining it to you - saying "insurance covers" in place where she should say "the full sum is"?


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16 Jul 2021, 11:09 am

ToughDiamond wrote:
^ Except that the receptionist said the insurance company pays 1800, not 1200.
Not according to the first post in this thread...
mj1 wrote:
... They said insurance covers $1500 and so he'll owe 20% of that which is $300.  That's what they said...
Hmm... something wrong here... let me re-work the figures ... if 80% of the total amount is $1500, then ... Aw, crap, I was wrong.  The total amount is: $1500 + $375 = $1875.

If 80% of $1875 is $1500, then 20% of $1875 is $375.

:oops: How embarrassing...

So mj1 is correct after all, and I made the same mistake as the receptionist!


:D


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16 Jul 2021, 11:32 am

magz wrote:
Mountain Goat wrote:
magz wrote:
Pictures can help.
In this percentage example, drawing a bar and dividing it 4:1 could make the situation much clearer for some people.


You mean 4 wagons in one siding and one wagon in another sort of thing?

Yes, lovely example.
4 wagons are 80% and one wagon is 20%. Together, they make 100%.
In the 4 wagons, there are $1500.
We need to pay the remaining one wagon.

But, life teaches that it's not necessary to be so adamant about paying more than they say you should. That's the non-Math part of the story ;)


I can think in railway wagons... Hehe!



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16 Jul 2021, 1:02 pm

Fnord wrote:
ToughDiamond wrote:
^ Except that the receptionist said the insurance company pays 1800, not 1200.
[color=black]Not according to the first post in this thread...

Well spotted. I should have put "1500 not 1200" and not "1800 not 1200." Either way it was more than 1200.



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16 Jul 2021, 3:20 pm

I highly recommend you log into the insurance account and take look at the Explanation of Benefits.


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16 Jul 2021, 3:27 pm

Fnord wrote:
ToughDiamond wrote:
^ Except that the receptionist said the insurance company pays 1800, not 1200.
Not according to the first post in this thread...
mj1 wrote:
... They said insurance covers $1500 and so he'll owe 20% of that which is $300.  That's what they said...
Hmm... something wrong here... let me re-work the figures ... if 80% of the total amount is $1500, then ... Aw, crap, I was wrong.  The total amount is: $1500 + $375 = $1875.

If 80% of $1875 is $1500, then 20% of $1875 is $375.

:oops: How embarrassing...

So mj1 is correct after all, and I made the same mistake as the receptionist!


:D


Yes, this is probably why the mother didn't understand the confusion. The receptionist should have said, "the total bill is $1,500," but screwed up and said "Insurance paid $1,500." Yet, like you, most people don't even realize little inaccuracies like this, since it's unusual to start with a lesser amount and expect the client to do the math to calculate the grand total. Mentally, the receptionist, the mother, and you overlooked this mistake and correctly deduced what the receptionist was trying to articulate, although she most certainly misspoke.