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Hospial Bill from Lisbon-Don't Know How to Pay

Hospial Bill from Lisbon-Don't Know How to Pay

Jan 10th, 2011, 11:23 AM
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Join Date: Jan 2011
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Hospial Bill from Lisbon-Don't Know How to Pay


I am new to the forum. I have question I was hoping someone could help me with. Back in 2008, my boyfriend and I went to Lisbon for about a week. In the middle of the trip I scratched my Cornea very badly. The pain was excruciating and BF hailed a cab and the cabbie took us to Centro Hospitalar Lisboa Norte. It was a beautiful, old hospital according to BF. I couldn't see a darn thing. Admissions took down my information. I told them I was American and didn't have insurance to cover anything over here. I saw a doctor within 5 minutes of arriving. She examined my eyes, gave me a drop of Morphine eye drops in one eye, wrote a prescription, and sent us on our way. The experience was pretty incredible considering how miserable I was. If this had happened to me in the U.S. I would have been waiting all day to see a doctor.

Here we are now, 2 years and 3 months after the incident and the bill has arrived. The grand total I owe... a whopping $12.25! I am in shock at how little I have to pay. So my question is how do I pay the hospital? The bill is in Portuguese. There are no translations in English on the backside of the page on how to pay for an American. Would a money order be acceptable? I want to pay this bill. The hospital helped me out so I could enjoy the rest of my trip. If anyone could help me out there, I'd greatly appreciate it.
kasefase is offline  
Jan 11th, 2011, 12:41 AM
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Send them a $50 bill in an ordinary envelope. Tell them (in English) to put any extra money into hospital funds. They will have a little bit of work to do to get the bill changed, but this is compensated for by the extra money. And thank them for the prompt treatment.

And make sure that all your friends know about the cost and quality of European healthcare.
chartley is offline  
Jan 11th, 2011, 01:58 AM
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Don't send cash, it may not get to where you intended. If you google the hospital name, you'll find their e-mail address. Ask them for their international bank details and pay them that way, at whatever sum you feel is appropriate. Once you've sent the transfer, e-mail them again and let them know. That's one way, Alternatively, send a money order if it can't be cashed by anyone else, (can you make it payable to the hospital)?

Don't forget to quote the invoice number as their reference.
Lifeman is offline  
Jan 11th, 2011, 02:05 AM
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chartley your idea is lovely, but I agree with Lifeman that the $50 may not get to the accounts dept. I would also make it a bank transfer and would email them to let them know if you do decide to pay extra.
cathies is online now  
Jan 11th, 2011, 02:58 AM
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If you e-mail, perhaps you can ask if they accept credit cards. I think that would be the easiest and cheapest way to pay.
Judy is offline  
Jan 11th, 2011, 05:45 AM
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If you choose to send a money order make certain it is an
international money order... the USPS sells 2 types and one is useless outside the US.
ParisAmsterdam is offline  
Jan 11th, 2011, 06:18 AM
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I think you are all being over-cautious about my idea of sending cash. It is often the easiest, and cheapest, way of sending currency between countries. We frequently do it to send small presents to a great-nephew in the U.S., and i have received dollars from the U.S. in payment of small accounts.

If it should go astray, it won't cost you more than you were spending anyway. The hospital would lose out, but I think they are unlikely to chase you for such a small sum.

You Americans really ought to loosen up sometimes. Dollars can easily be changed into euro, and the hospital may have to pay a fee for paying in a bank draft.
chartley is offline  
Jan 11th, 2011, 07:22 AM
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email adrress:
[email protected]

web address:
lobo_mau is offline  
Jan 11th, 2011, 09:10 AM
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Given it's such a small bill, I'd just send cash, also, but I don't understand why a bill from Portugal was denominated in US dollars. That seems very strange to me, don't they use the euro. I was seen in a hospital in London once and that bill sure wasn't in USD (plus I was given it when I was there).
Christina is offline  
Jan 11th, 2011, 09:17 AM
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I think that the OP has translated the bill into USD for purposes of the post.

Whilst it may be OK to send cash between relatives or to pay a bill to an individual, I certainly wouldn't send cash to a large organisation. It potentially passes through too many hands as it will be opened in a post room initially, where it may go missing.

I'm not an American who needs to loosen up, but a realistic Brit. I wouldn't put my Credit Card details on an open e-mail either.
Lifeman is offline  
Jan 11th, 2011, 09:37 AM
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How about sending them an international bank draft for the precise amount owed (either in US $ or in Euros, as the case may be).

Don't send cash; send a negotiable instrument such as a bank draft.
GAC is offline  
Jan 11th, 2011, 09:55 AM
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You could try the Portuguese National Tourist office in New York and see what they say if you feel like making a phone call.
Sher is offline  
Jan 11th, 2011, 11:57 AM
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Please email me [email protected]
If you wish to send me a scan copy of the invoice, I'll pay it for you.
lobo_mau is offline  
Jan 11th, 2011, 12:01 PM
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Portugal is a EUR denominated country. I presume the bill is in EUR.

The proper procedure (and for the hospital the easiest) would be to make an international money transfer.
To do that find out their banking relationship (maybe indicated on the bill). You need their account no..
With that go to your bank and instruct them to transfer the money using the respective IBAN no. (includes the recipient's account no.) and SWIFT code. The bank will give you a choice whether your bank or the recipient's bank should do the conversion. Opt for the cheaper option.

I know this may not be standard procedure for Americans, but it is for Europeans and as the recipient is European it would be common courtesy to meet their requirements.
I realize there will be substantial transaction costs compared to the sum you are transferring, but again, this is not the hospital's fault.

The second option would be to send a EUR denominated cheque. Again allow for the transaction and conversion costs.

Sending USD in cash is condescending.
hsv is offline  
Jan 11th, 2011, 12:03 PM
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Well, talking about courtesy, lobo_mau's recent offer is unbeatable. Kudos to him/her.
hsv is offline  
Jan 11th, 2011, 12:21 PM
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We had to use emergency doctor's service in Lisbon airport last year. Doctor was great and he helped my son a lot. When he finished I asked for the bill he said it was free.
hkto is offline  
Jan 11th, 2011, 12:49 PM
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I am on the received side of money transfers. Make sure your case number is attached as reference to the transfer, or the hospital will never figure out who sent money, and they will keep sending you the bills.
Dayenu is offline  
Jan 11th, 2011, 01:52 PM
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As a side note, you could try typing in some of the Portuguese on the invoice into Google Translate (or other online translator) to get the gist of what it says...
ggreen is offline  
Jan 11th, 2011, 05:27 PM
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I agree with Chartley.

I'd mail a $20, with explanation.

I'd check in a month later, and if it were still unpaid, I'd check it off to human nature, and hope it was used wisely.
Then I'd send the money as described more complicatedly above.

But in my mind, I'd risk the loss, and hope for the best.

With the markups on wire transfers, currency exchange, etc, it might cost more than $20 just in fees.
tomboy is offline  
Jan 11th, 2011, 05:55 PM
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It's a no brainer. Thank lobo_mau and ask him/her to pay the bill. To show your gratitude send something to him/her they'd like. Otherwise you'll be paying a lot in fees for nothing.
Marija is online now  

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