Magical Refund Check Surfaces 11 Years After Emergency Room Visit

Reader Smashville has shared with Consumerist what is either a wonderful Above and Beyond story or a clerical clusterfrak of epic proportions. He writes that eleven years after an emergency room visit, his mother received a refund check for $160.00 for an overpayment that she forgot she had ever made.

In the fall of 1999, I was a freshman in college and I had been feeling sick for a couple of days. I woke up in the middle of the night, couldn’t breathe and had what felt like this unbearable load on my chest.

“Oh my god, I’m 18 and having a heart attack,” I thought. I managed to climb out of bed and make it to the phone. I dialed 911 and got campus security…who promptly told me that it was outside of their normal business hours. That part isn’t remotely relevant to my story, but I always thought it was amusing that security apparently operated under the assumption that students did not need “securing” after midnight.

So, at this point, I dialed the extra 9 and got the real 911, who sent an ambulance (why my roommate would not take me to the hospital across the street is a story for another day) to transport me to the Brookwood Medical Center. Nothing was convincing me that I was not having a massive coronary.

When I arrived at the hospital, it was quickly determined that I was not having a massive coronary, but had pleurisy and was fairly dehydrated. After being hooked up to an IV for an hour and getting a shot in my butt, I was sent on my way home with the bill.

As the hospital was out-of-network and in another state, my mom paid the massive OON deductible and we all went merrily and healthily on our way.

We did, at least, until February 8, 2010. When my mom went to her mailbox that crisp winter’s morn, she expected some magazines and some junk. Maybe a water bill.

Instead there was an envelope from Brookwood Medical Center.

Inside said magic envelope was a check dated 2/3/2010 in the amount of $160.00 for an overpayment from September of 1999.

That’s right. Eleven years later…Brookwood Medical Center decided to repay money that my mom never even knew she was owed.

I have to think the statute of limitations was well expired at this point…but…no one is complaining.

Well, if you wanted to complain, eleven years’ worth of inflation means that $160.00 overpayment in 1999 would be worth $206.04 today.