Thursday, February 22, 2018

Health Insurance Companies Are Shit and Many Doctor Offices Are Too

I was just in the office with Tim as he called Ambetter, our previous insurance company.  He was put on hold and the recording told us the wait would be long.  Why? They say it's because of the popularity of their product.  What?!  Really?  You're using you're put-on-hold recording as an opportunity to brag about your popularity?  Come on! Why don't they just be honest and say There's a long line of other people in front of you complaining, so get ready to wait and wait and wait.  Or, We're very busy trying to argue with sick people about why we won't pay for their services. So it might be awhile. Get comfortable.  

We had to call the insurance company because we need my records and it's now not available online. For some mysterious reason, only Tim's records are available.

Now why did we need my records?

Well we just got a call from Jamie Inman's office. She's my PCP.  Or she was my PCP. I'm having to quit her because we changed insurance again, and she doesn't take our new insurance.

According to Jamie Inman's office we owe three hundred something dollars.  I just learned this from the voicemail on my iPhone.  It interrupted me as I was trying to watch an episode of Outnumbered, which coincidently deals with dentists and hospital visits.  At first I thought it was spam/scam, because the iPhone transcript said it was Dr. Newman's office.  As far as I could remember, I hadn't seen a Doctor Newman in the past few years.

Fortunately, I decided to listen to the message as well and not just rely on the transcript thingie. 

Anyway, this is the first time we're hearing about this three hundred dollar bill. You would think we've heard about it fifty million times, since the voice on the message says she's going to have to report us to collections. 

Tim says he has gotten small bills from the office. He's called to take care of it, and then they tell him don't worry, we don't owe anything.  But now...we owe three hundred something dollars.  WHAT is that all about?

We think/thought it could be connected to a issue with labs we had.

In 2016, I had labs done. 

A few weeks later, I got a huge bill.  I was very upset, because large medical bills make me furious, worried, depressed, etc.

Our insurance company didn't pay for any of the labs. Why? The doctors office filed with our old insurance company (US Health) rather than Aetna.  Aetna will only pay for your labs if you do it with the lab they prefer.  I don't get why.  But okay. Whatever.

We talked to the doctor's office, because they're the ones who mixed things up.  From what Tim tells me, they pretty much apologized and said they'd take care of it.  I think maybe they gave us a credit or promised they'd give us a credit.

I'm not sure.

Anyway, it might not matter because the woman on the phone says it was NOT lab related.  And also, we looked at the lab bills from Aetna, and it was not three hundred something dollars.  I can't remember what it was exactly, but I think it's around 150-200 total.

So, what else could it be?

Well-check-ups are supposed to be free.

I did have one check up that was not a well-check-up.  I had been concerned because I had learned that no hair on your toes means you might have circulation problems.  I had realized that not only are my toes hairless, but my lower legs are pretty much as well.  I wanted to get that checked out. I also had yellow toes and some mysterious lingering rashes.  The doctor didn't seem concerned. She gave me that you're-a-cute-hypochondriac look and suggested that hairless legs could be a genetic thing.  To her credit, she did quickly check my ankle pulse.

Okay. But was all that really worth three hundred something dollars?

Why the hell do we push people to go to the doctor if they're going to end up being quickly examined and then quickly told that there's probably nothing wrong with them?

Even if Dr. Inman greatly impressed me with her brilliance and skill, I'd be pissed about being charged three hundred dollars.  But why am I paying that much to have a few minutes with someone who only makes me feel stupid for having a concern about my health?

Also, if that visit is the reason behind the three hundred dollars, why did our insurance company refuse to pay?  Are we not supposed to visit the doctor when we have concerns?  And shit. It's not like I'm the type of person who goes to the doctor every few weeks with a new complaint.  My body has been mysteriously jerking/twitching.  It took me eight months to finally get myself to a doctor about this.  And with the hair thing, I think there were several weeks between me being concerned and me getting myself to the doctor.

I HATE being made to feel like a hypochondriac. That's why I tend to avoid doctors. But it's awful that we have to worry about huge medical bills as well.  

Anyway, we'll see what happens. Hopefully we'll get some answers.

Personally, I think if a doctor's office calls and says we owe three hundred something dollars, THEY should be able to tell us exactly why.  We shouldn't have to dig through our insurance records.

Tim thinks maybe they'll clear things up, and all will be okay.  They'll tell us we don't owe anything, or it was all a mistake.  Yeah. Like I'm going to believe them.  How many times have they told us that before?  They might say all is fine, but I won't be surprised if a few weeks later we get a letter from a collection company.  Or a call? Do they usually write or call?  I don't know....

Let's say that doesn't happen. All is fine. We never hear about the bill again. Well, it still pisses me off because we've had to go through all these hassles.  It shouldn't be like this.  

All in all, I AM glad we have a new insurance company that is forcing us to quit Inman.  Though, sadly, I seriously doubt we'll find anything better.  Most of it is shit....expensive shit.