Bill from Princess - can't get explanation what it's for

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Dec 19, 2017
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#1
Last July 31 I fell on the Diamond Princess. The rod from my hip replacement broke through my femur. I was sent to a hospital in Hakodate, the port we were in. Last August I paid the medical bill from the ship and the medical bill from the hospital in Japan.

In late November I received a bill from Princess for a little over $2100 with no invoices, just the amount. After a few emails and three phone calls, yesterday I received the specific invoices for this bill. I have tried to have someone explain to me what the charges reference on the invoices. I have talked with and emailed personnel in customer relations, guest relations and medical records - all to no avail.

For example, I can tell that the bulk of the charges are hourly and travel expenses for the Japanese/English liaison provided for me by Princess. As they prepared to wheel me off of the ship the Doctor told me I was provided with this liaison. At no time was I told I would be paying for him! I thought he was a part time employee of Princess.

I was also charged for flowers sent to my as a good will gesture by Princess!

There is a charge for "communication". I have no idea with whom!

There is a hospital handling fee...handling what and by whom?

I do intend to contact upper management. You have four contacts listed. I'm not sure which one - or all - to contact. At this point I would like all of the charges removed.

Suggestions?
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
10,621
11,210
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#2
Don't send to all at once. Start with Customer Service and give them a week to reply. If no reply or they can't help you - then write to the first executives listed. Give him or her a week to reply - repeat weekly until you get all the way up the chain.

You may have to dispute the charge if you can't get answers. Did you have travel insurance that reimbursed you?

My wife has bi-lateral hip, knee and a shoulder replacement. When I read your story to her she actually grimaced and said she can't even imagine what you had to go through.
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
5,890
5,970
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San Francisco
#3
Sandy, I'm so sorry for your awful injury. As for Princess ... when you look up the word 'preposterous', there's a photo of a Princess ship. This bill is just nuts. I wonder if it's an internal accounting memo of some sort that got charged to your account in error. Paying for your own flowers???? That's nuts.

Neil has outlined a good plan for you. Since this is the holiday season, I suggest giving CS two weeks, then escalate as Neil advises. Please keep us updated, if you are unable to resolve the issue, it may be a very good story for our blog advocates.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
10,621
11,210
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#4
Sandy, I'm so sorry for your awful injury. As for Princess ... when you look up the word 'preposterous', there's a photo of a Princess ship. This bill is just nuts. I wonder if it's an internal accounting memo of some sort that got charged to your account in error. Paying for your own flowers???? That's nuts.

Neil has outlined a good plan for you. Since this is the holiday season, I suggest giving CS two weeks, then escalate as Neil advises. Please keep us updated, if you are unable to resolve the issue, it may be a very good story for our blog advocates.
That is exactly what I first thought too- that it was an internal invoice.
 
Dec 19, 2017
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#6
Thank you for your replies and very helpful suggestions. In the last two weeks I've already contacted a customer service rep (they call it customer relations) a couple of times via email and phone. I shall compose a letter and start with the first executive listed.

After four months of physical therapy, I graduated two weeks ago. I'm not 100% yet, but with time and exercise, I should continue to improve. It was what my orthopedic surgeon called a traumatic injury. Yet, I'm most fortunate it was not life threatening.

I do have Princess Platinum travel insurance. This bill doesn't really seem to have anything medical - a translator, his travel expenses and what not. As it is, I have not sent anything to them because, amazingly, my personal insurance paid the ship's medical bill and Japan's hospital bill 100%! My gripe with the travel insurance is they denied flying me home for the surgery. I was not going to have it at the hospital I was in...too many things made me very leery of doing that. We paid...yes, a lot...to medivac me home. But that's another story.

I'll now spend a day composing a letter. I'll let you know the results. Thanks again for your help and kind remarks.
 
Likes: jsn55

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
10,621
11,210
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#7
Thank you for your replies and very helpful suggestions. In the last two weeks I've already contacted a customer service rep (they call it customer relations) a couple of times via email and phone. I shall compose a letter and start with the first executive listed.

After four months of physical therapy, I graduated two weeks ago. I'm not 100% yet, but with time and exercise, I should continue to improve. It was what my orthopedic surgeon called a traumatic injury. Yet, I'm most fortunate it was not life threatening.

I do have Princess Platinum travel insurance. This bill doesn't really seem to have anything medical - a translator, his travel expenses and what not. As it is, I have not sent anything to them because, amazingly, my personal insurance paid the ship's medical bill and Japan's hospital bill 100%! My gripe with the travel insurance is they denied flying me home for the surgery. I was not going to have it at the hospital I was in...too many things made me very leery of doing that. We paid...yes, a lot...to medivac me home. But that's another story.

I'll now spend a day composing a letter. I'll let you know the results. Thanks again for your help and kind remarks.
You are correct to start with the first executive. It just sounds like it is a Princess internal invoice and should not be for you to pay.



Princesses policy pays for this:


expenses incurred by you for Physician-ordered emergency medical evacuation, including medically appropriate transportation and necessary medical care en route, to the nearest suitable Hospital when you are critically ill or injured and no suitable local care is available, subject to the Program Medical Advisors prior approval;

And then this;
 

Attachments

Dec 19, 2017
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#8
Oh my, Neil. Thank you for checking what the travel insurance covers! I am not sure it it covers the travel expenses for the translator. His fees for time and travel are about $1500, the bulk of the bill. If I end up being charged for it, I'll definitely check with the travel insurance.

As far as the flight part of the insurance...they did offer to pay for my flight home, business class, a doctor and a nurse IF i had my surgery in the hospital I was in in Japan. The ' insurance team' deemed the orthopedic surgeon above average for that city and the hospital adequate. Well, the Dr. may have been good, but I could not have surgery in that facility. I didn't consider it adequate by American standards. Keep in mind this city was not cosmopolitan Tokyo. It is on the next big island north. It was an old 5 story building from 1950s or maybe earlier. .

Things I observed that bothered me: old water damage along ceiling and wall in ER, xray, and CT scan areas, air conditioning not used anywhere, nurses did not come into room rubbing hands so they did not use hand sanitizer from room to room, hand crank at foot of bed to raise and lower the back... I requested the air be turned on in my room. They did, but a nurse would come in hugging herself and nod to me (there were three people in administration who spoke English but they were on vacation that week as it was festival week) - in essence asking if I were cold. My conclusion was they didn't worry about germs breeding. I have no idea if the OR was at least air conditioned. Three nights a nurse turned my air off & I woke up in a sweat. Since my femur was not repaired there, it was propped on rolled up towels and one of those pillows that have beans or something in them. If the towel or pillow fell on the floor it was re-rolled and put back under my leg. One day a few nurses came in to pull me back up the bed by grabbing on to a loose sheet under me (I would slide down and my leg would have pressure against the end of the bed). One of them is what I call 'juicy' - her nose was running like a faucet which I consider to be a contagious time for a cold/cough. With three on each side of me with hands on the sheet ready to pull, the juicy one told them to wait a second. She turned around to sneeze - lo and behold, into her hand, not her elbow. Then she turned back, put her hands on my sheet and they pulled me up. I just could not imagine having surgery nor healing under all of these conditions.

On the plus side, my nurses were very kind and fun. I got there about 1 a.m. and by noon the nurses were coming in with their cell phones using a translator app. It worked pretty well for short conversations. They were also meticulous about other things. I always was handed my toothbrush and spit tray after every meal. Instead of the wipes we have on a meal tray, there was always a lovely warm towel to wipe my face and hands.

Anyway...I get started and can't stop when it comes to my 8 day stay in that hospital!

I have written my letter to the first executive listed and am waiting for one of my daughter to add her excellent hand to it - whether it be to make it more concise (I didn't run on like above, trust me) or to make it more assertive. Will keep you informed...
 
Likes: Jo Peck
Dec 19, 2017
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#10
Oh, I knew you were, Neil, and I appreciate it. I was explaining why I didn't follow through with the travel insurance's offer to fly me home after surgery there...and I got carried away. Sometimes tone of ones post doesn't come through as it was meant to be. Mine was grateful for your research and exasperation at the travel insurance....not you!
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
10,621
11,210
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#11
I understand. and insurance can be quite frustrating. I am not sure if you have ever heard of MedJet Assist but that type of insurance might have been helpful. Of course one would never anticipate something happening like what happened to you - I can't even imagine how you were able to fly home period.
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
5,890
5,970
113
San Francisco
#12
Oh, I knew you were, Neil, and I appreciate it. I was explaining why I didn't follow through with the travel insurance's offer to fly me home after surgery there...and I got carried away. Sometimes tone of ones post doesn't come through as it was meant to be. Mine was grateful for your research and exasperation at the travel insurance....not you!
Sandy, two years ago my husband had his hip replaced on an emergency basis in Paris after a fall ... at the public assistance hospital. The place was beyond scary ... but he was in so much pain he had no idea. All the docs spoke English, and the head guy told me that his docs did surgery 24 hours a day, it was a teaching hospital. Moving to a private facility would have meant that Dan waited several days for the replacement and the head surgeon was so impressive ... he told me his docs were the best in France. We stayed, they did the surgery at 9pm on a Saturday. Very successful. And we'd had MedJet Medical Evac Insurance for years, long before they became a sponsor of this forum. The trip home was flawless ... they sent an ER nurse over from Florida! I don't think anyone should leave home without MedJet. You might be entertained by my (very long) story in the insurance forum ... about October 2015. Surely an experience we'll never forget.
 
Dec 19, 2017
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#13
Actually, my daughter found medjet assist as she was searching for a way to get me home. We booked them. They are outstanding. I was accompanied by a former ICU nurse and a former chief EMT. I'll never travel again without joining. It's a shame I didn't know about them before my fall! The flight would have not been such an expense. Lesson learned. Actually, they picked up on a local news article regarding my experience. It was posted on their fb page this last Oct.

I shall go search in insurance for your story, Jan. It sounds like, barring the need for emergency surgery, it was a positive experience.
 
Dec 19, 2017
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#15
I have a letter in the works to the first contact listed, Neil. I'm waiting for my daughter's expertise editing it and plan to email it on Tuesday, the day after Christmas. Hopefully, the executive won't be on vacation!
 
Likes: Patina
Dec 19, 2017
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#17
Ok Neil, here it is without the headers. I've no ego - I welcome any edits or complete rewrite : ). I do have two word choices in next to last sentence that I'm considering:

Dear Ms Black:

I received a bill on November 25th for $2125.69 stating that if the charges were not paid within sixty days it would be sent to an outside collection agency. Amazingly, I had never received any previous notice of this bill.

It took me over twenty days by contacting three different departments via email and phone calls to find out what the bill was specifically for. Recently, I finally received the invoices. I have attached them to this email.

It appears that about 75% of the bill is for the Japanese/English translator provided for me when my injury required leaving the ship for a hospital in Hakodate, Japan. The doctor on the Diamond Princess told me the translator would be there to help me as needed and was provided by the cruise line. No one told me I would be paying for his services. I was under the impression that he was a part-time employee of Princess and paid by Princess.

Another charge is for flowers sent to me as what I thought was a goodwill gesture by the cruise line. The signatures on the card were the name of my translator and Princess personnel. I’m paying for those flowers?

There’s a charge for “communication”. I can only guess that it refers to the “how are you?, how can we help you?” phone calls from Nicholas Kessell of the Carnival Australia Care Office. I’m paying for the parent company to reach out to me as a goodwill gesture?

Lastly, I cannot begin to imagine what the charge “hospitalization handling fee” is for.

I am surprised/appalled to receive this bill for what appears to be internal invoices. I truly expect these expenses to be removed from my account.

Thank you.

Sincerely,
 

Patina

Verified Member
Dec 22, 2015
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#18
Personally, I would omit the word appalled. I would also leave out the last sentence, "I truly expect these expenses to be removed from my account." Maybe end with something like, "Please clarify the details of this invoice." Keeping the tone less demanding will go far with gaining an ally.
 
Dec 19, 2017
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#20
Oh, one last question. What would you suggest using for the subject line of the email? I'm considering something that includes the reference number to the account such as:

Need Help with XYZXY2 (that's a made up account number)

Questioning Bill XYZXY2

Disputed Bill XYZXY2 (customer service has an open file for me disputing the bill)