09 October 2006


I spent the greater part of the day on the phone, trying to make sure my boob tests would be done by an in-network provider with my health insurance.

The place my doc sent me for the mammo was not in-network, which they didn't tell me - why would they? Not their job. It wasn't a big deal for the mammo - maybe an extra $30 or so.

But then they whacked me with the 2-boob ultrasound special - I can hardly wait to get THAT bill.

At the time, they are saying "We need to do this right now" and you are in shock at the idea that your boobs might be trying to kill you and who are you to argue?

This weekend, though, I had time to consider that the ultrasound-guided needle biopsy (ON BOTH BREASTS, PEOPLE. BOTH BREASTS!! BECAUSE I AM OBVIOUSLY A MUTANT FREAK, THAT IS WHY) might be...well...kind of expensive. So I checked my coverage and found that I was about to drop an extra $300 or so if I used an out-of-network provider.

Nuh-uh. $300? That's a ticket to Chicago. To see my sis. No way.

So I spent the day on the phone.

The count:
3 places that don't even do the procedure that are on my health plan website as providers
1 place the guy on the health plan's 800 number suggested that wasn't even a diagnostic center, but a doctor's office
1 completely clueless receptionist who had never heard of a needle biopsy
20 minutes on hold
1 time of getting hung up on
2 calls to the health plan
3 checks of health plan website.
Total: Madness

Simple. Easy. No problem.

My question: WTF do sick people do? Because if I already didn't feel good? If I was going through chemo or something? And I had to make these kinds of phone calls? I would be dead by now.

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Nut's mom said...

what? what cards? send them my way to my email nutsmom at gmail dot com. it will get forwarded to my real email and I will get back to you!

who the )^&(&*(&()%^* is exploiting my baby?

Anonymous said...

so glad to be canadian....

Girlplustwo said...

um, WTF? nothing says health care provider like jumping through endless hopes in time of need.

Anonymous said...

Something pays your wages... It's got to be complicated so that everyone has a job. The turmoil is just decoration. EGBOK.

SUEB0B said...

Oh, yeah, Canadians, just rub it in, why don't you? Next, tell us about your low crime rate and having politicians that don't start unnnecessary wars.

super des said...

Suebob, I think jess is trying to tell you to move to Canada.

I'm sooo glad I don't work with health insurance anymore. All that "helping people trying to get their AIDS meds covered through medi-cal" was enough to make anyone go crazy. I'm lucky in that I haven't had to do anything like that as a patient.

LittlePea said...

I was diagnosed with Thyroid cancer just weeks ago and still recovering from surgery and waiting for radiation. Just for the 2 nights in the hospital-my insuarnce was billed 30 f-ing thousand dollars-I can only wonder what we'll end up having to pay...luckily I didin't have to do all the phone calls. Poor you. I can't imagine what people without health coverage have to do. My FIL had chemo last year, they live in Canada, guess how much they had to pay for his 2 months in the hospital? ZERO! So jealous of Canadians...
I hope everything turns out ok

gingajoy said...

jeezuz--what a nightmare. you're so right to ask what the hell people with no money or resources for help do.

am sending good vibes hoping that this will all work out, and boobs will prove all bouncy and healthy.

Birdsword said...

UGH! I hate insurance companies. I am in the med. profession and you can actually call up an insurance company person in benefits and get two to three different answers for the SAME question.

After giving birth I had to call the ins. companies a gazillian times b.c. some of the procedures I had done in office weren't pre authorized and I started getting bills. I was exhuasted, post partum and dealing with a crying baby - back and forth on the phone w/ billers and ins. people. I too wonder what happens to elderly or really sick people dealing with this, as I got so frustrated at the end. I can't imagine medicaid/medicare being better...

Anonymous said...

good god. well all i can say is that i sure as hell hope you're okay and this turns out to be an expensive "all for nothing" hassle that you can go out and drink about once it's done. yes, canada. i'm hoping my boy decides to just move there when he's done with school. then i can take him off my colossally-expensive-yet-doesn't-pay-for-anything health insurance. i'll be thinking of you.

Mignon said...

Let's lay off the Canadians... they have their own sins to atone for (*coughcough*Celine Dion*coughcough*).

I am sorry for this. I went through a similar headache when I was pregnant, and I found out too late the OB I loooved was not in-network.

My 90-year-old grandfather, understandably, has a truckload of medical bills, and the stress of it all was making his health even worse. My mom, in a phone call from overseas, suggested something to the effect of "sweeping it all under the carpet" until she could get there to do an invetory and tally for him. When she got to his house many months later she couldn't find any of the bills and realized he had been throwing them into the gap behind his desk and the wall. She had to get the neighbor to come over and move the ginormous desk so she could get to the bills.

Anonymous said...

Yet another example of how woefully lacking our healthcare system is. It really stinks that you have to do all the legwork on this. I truly believe we all have to be our own healthcare advocates because the HMOs will not do it for you. And I know it's the last thing you need when you're already stressed out.
Give 'em hell SueBob.

crazymumma said...

Gotta love canada for our Health System.

I hope you find a place so you will not have to pay out so much money!

You are going to be fine by the way....

Amanda said...

Thank god I don't have a fulltime job because handling our insurance takes almost as much time.

Good luck with the biopsy. Hopefully it will give you peace of mind if nothing else.

karla said...

hi! I'm here from Happy and Blue2's blog. So glad I dropped by. Your writting added a great morning chuckle with my morning coffee.

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