Saturday, April 2, 2011

I'm not sure what insurance pays for...

After living a couple years without "health insurance", and now having "benefits" for the last couple weeks, well I'm here to tell you it is a false sense of security that comes with employer subsidized insurance coverage. And that going to a doctors seems like a part time job.

One of those things happened so I went to a health care provider. I am going back again this week to hopefully get the care I requested during the first visit. Two visits and three finagling phone calls later it is costing me $364. I had to be very active as a patient advocate. That surprised me. I did get the cost way down from the initial offer. Dickering for health care.

I have another appointment on Monday for a planned visit - separate issue, different docs- and that one no one is giving over monetary information. That visit is the big secret...I will have to be advocating for my pocketbook while I'm there - but of course, these providers are removed from the billing department - in theory, they should be able to give the most appropriate care. I know what procedure I want there too so... I'll let you know how that goes.

I know that admin staff do not appreciate having to run the numbers prior to an appointment. Payment seemed so damn important to her I made sure she got all her dollars in a row - we have an agreement now - I'll come in, but she can't charge any more than she said she would. In some ways at least all the arm wrestling is done first. With the Big Secret appointment all the arm-wrestling will be after the appointment when I get the bill.

It always made me a little frustrated when I would go in sick to a doctor and after all the blood pressure, temperature and breathing in and out the doctor would tell me I'm sick, that I should have come in earlier, but even then it's a virus and had to run it's course; go home, go to bed. I guess it's not a bad gig if you can handle the start up costs.

When all this is done I will have to be truly miserable to allow myself to be put through this again.

OH! OH! I got a collections letter for several hundred dollars worth of charges at the hospital in the town in Wisconsin I lived at two years ago. Rather than call the collections company I called the hospital billing department and respectfully asked what the charges are for. The gentleman asked me when was the date of service. I said i didn't know as I've not lived in Wisconsin for two years now and this truly adds to my confusion of what these charges would be for. "So you don't have a date of service?" "If I had a date of service I would probably have a good idea what the charges are for." He mentioned my wasband and I mentioned we do not share bills as he is my wasband and not my husband. The gentleman took my number and said he'd call me back. He did. He called me back and let me know that the charges referred to in the collections request had been written off in 2009 as a billing error and he did not know how or why they had made it to the collections people. Neither my wasband nor I are responsible for those charges. I'm arm-wrestling phantom charges these days. Ain't life a miracle?

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