11.24.2004

I miss my health plan

So I learned something new again today about how health insurance works in this country with the shittiest health care ever. I finally got around to calling my doctors office about a line item on my bill that said "you needed to get authorization" (i.e. from Blue Cross for them to cover this expense). It was for 90 bucks. I kinda had an idea what this was and I was right. After I got my mole removed and biopsied and all that stuff I had to get the stitches out and the area checked. In passing I asked the dermatologist if those freckle creams you get at department store counters and drugstores really work. He looked at my face for a half second, checked off a box on my patient file and without asking me, wrote up a prescription for some prescription strength freckle fade cream...and his doing that costed me $90. Seriously, all I fuckin wanted to know was if freckle creams work. I did not ask that he look at me or write me a damn prescription. But you cannot undo his looking at my face. That "examination" was the part filed under "preventive care service" which is not covered.

Incidentally, I took the Rx to the drugstore just to see how much the cream would cost anyways-- $129. I figured I really was not rich or vain enough to pay for it and threw out the RX, but at the time I didn't know I had already paid $90 for the examination of my 3 or 4 freckles. Fuck.

In Canada the last thing the doctor always said (Dr. Angie Hutchinson the best doctor in the world ever), do you have any questions you want to ask me? Here, do not assume it's OK to just ask questions because they might cost you $90 each. Costs me freakin 4.5 hours to make that much money tutoring.

Something tells me it's time to go home to that place where mat leave is a year long, health care is dirt cheap, public schools are good, the leader is intelligent, the citizens are generally liberal and people don't run around with guns. Shitty weather is starting to sound not so tragic afterall and those high income taxes are feeling like they actually paid for worthwhile stuff, like schools and healthcare.

6 comments:

head dump said...

WHAT THE ??? Is this VANESSA's BLOG?? You let him get away with that? Did you ask him to examin your face? Did you ask him for preventative care? You asked him a question, an opinion. Not an examination. He provided a service that you did not ask for. Now, if you asked Comcast whether the "xyz package" is worth it or not you'd be up at their face if they slapped on the service then charged you. So what's going on here? ok ok, I know what he's doing is good, but just because it is for your benefit, doesn't mean it's ok to just slap on fees without patient consent. The stress of having to pay your bills might be another medical condition!! We always inform patients of all fees.

Ivy said...

Amen to socialism!

Time to move to either Canada or the Scandinavian countries. I'd rather not be super rich, but have good publice services. But my friends from The Netherlands said the reason why they moved to this country is so they can get rich. Personal wealth is much saught after, more than social benefits. Grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.

Ben said...

Oh, but if you move there, won't you sorely miss the good ol' American retail store customer service? Hahahaha ...

James said...

Yeesh, that sucks, but you should be able to contest the charge with your insurance company, or if it's a private doctor, talk to him / her and tell them what happened. Usually they'll drop the charges if it's a private doctor. If it's a big hospital, probably better to go through the insurance company route and contest the charges.

Van said...

Here's the thing. Insurance packages vary widely and it's not like the doctor knows that "level II preventative care" is not covered in my plan. So it's not really his fault. The fault is in the system. Doctors have to note what they did. We have to hope that it's covered. The billing lady at the med center said that even she can't fully interpret every detail of what's covered and what's not in her own insurance and the doctors can't know what level of coverage we have.

Van said...

Further to Eva's comment. He might've provided a "service I did not ask for" but at the time it also seemed harmless for him to look at my face and once he wrote up the Rx I couldn't help but take it to the drugstore to see what the damage was. I wasn't really knowledgeable enough to think to physically back away from the doctor and order him not to write an Rx. The whole system is just fucked up.