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Saturday, November 3, 2018

The Medical Maze

Sometimes you have to laugh to keep from crying. First a little background: I really hate dealing with doctors, but dealing with insurances and medical billing is even worse.

There is good news about my leg infection. It has not settled in my bones. Had it done so, it would have been a real bear to treat.

Okay, fine. Then I was referred to a wound clinic about 35 minutes away. No big deal. When you live in the sticks you expect to drive somewhere for services.

The person at the clinic had all my paperwork and asked a few medical questions. Then she mentioned that it said I was self-pay. Once that was confirmed my call was transferred to the billing department. She was not too happy to discover I had no insurance. Then it got even more interesting. My income is just a tad too high for their sliding scale payments. We talked some time but eventually she realized that not only did I not have insurance, I did not qualify for any state or Federal programs. In fact, even tax credits are useless to me as I don't pay income tax.

She told me the treatment was “expensive.” Well how expensive? I asked. Expensive she said. That's not exactly a number. She wouldn't even give me a ballpark figure. Then she said she'd call the clinic and get back to me.

Time goes by.

The clinic calls and offers a solution. The same doctor from the clinic has hours in another practice about an hour away from me. It's supposed to cost less that way. The only number I could get out of the person is that I need a $55 copay to get in the door. How much additional to that? Nobody could tell me. Oh well. Guess I drive over early Monday morning and find out about treatment and payments.

In the mean time, lab test bills have started coming in. Still waiting for the doctor's visit bill and the x-ray bill.

Good thing it's only money -money I don't have too much of, but if so it goes.



  1. Most places would just as soon let you die without the money up front.

  2. Mi name Jose, no espeek ingles.... yea flame away and call me a racist.
    FWIW, the whole system is now structured so that it is nearly impossible to pay out of pocket. It is not the fault of the girl behind the desk. They simply don't have a box in the program to enter that option. And when you separate the payer from the patient you no longer have a choice in the matter and can't shop around. By design you are subjugated to the "benevolence" and implication of the system. Healthcare is no longer the product, you the patient are the product. By definition a socialized healthcare system which is what we have at present has no choice but to limit available treatment choices, and the costs can't help but skyrocket. I am facing the same nightmare right now even having the best health insurance (1600+$/month) available in Maine.

    1. One thing about having insurance, at least they will let you in the door. It's a horrible system. Hope you navigate your way through it all right.

      If my French was better I'd sneak across our northern border and pretend to be Canadian. I guess that would make me a "Frost Back."

  3. Since you are out of pocket anyway, why don't you get a second opinion from a qualified alternative doctor?

    1. I did.

      Everyone points me in the same direction right now. I'll see how it goes on Monday.

  4. Our medical system is terribly broken.
    Monday morning I fell hit my head on the floor hard. By noon my heart was racing (135 a minute, normally for me it's 75) and was nauseated. Felt I had a concussion so I went to Mayo ER, I have Medicare and BCBS but I know this will be out of pocket expensive. They did a CT can, 2 IV's, 5 blood tests and six hours wired up in the ER. Two prescriptions and here's the killer the one prescription was just over $540 for 30 days fortunately BCBS picked up $498 of it. If I was uninsured I would have to eat 100% of all this. They also discovered I now have A-Fib and need to go for Sleep Apnea testing.
    I'll keep the events going but on my Blog. Financially this is going to hurt....

    But again the system is broken!

  5. Hi Sixbears, I enjoy your experiences and ideas. I have one suggestion for your blog. The blog is using a font size that is tiny, and I would appreciate it if you changed to a larger size font. I have a blog on blogspot, and when you start a new post you will see that on the top of the selections for pics and other things, you can change the size of the font and make it larger.

    1. You could do what I do. Hold down the "CTRL" key then rotate the mouse wheel to increase or decrease the font and page.

  6. Sixbears, if it weren't for the V.A., I would be in serious trouble when it comes to health issues. Hope you get some of the right answers Monday.