When we first moved back to California one of my goals was to get a job with health insurance so if anything were to happen me and my husband, we could go to the doctor (instead of hanging out in an emergency room for hours). When I got hired at my job and was offered healthcare after 90 days, I snapped it up in a second. I was thrilled, I only had one option, CIGNA, but I figured it couldn’t be that bad. Oh how I regretted that initial assumption. As my dad always said, when you AssUMe it only makes an Ass out of U and Me.
So let’s get to the fun part. In October I call and schedule an annual exam with my doctor. The annual exam is covered 100% by my insurance, no co-pay, in my naive state of excitement over finally getting insurance I thought this would be a great. I go in and while she is doing my annual she talks to me about any other issues I may be having. I tell her about an issue with my neck. This is where things get complicated OH MY GAWD. She refers me to get an MRI but informs me I may have complications with my insurance “They run like a business, they will fight you if you cost them money”. I felt disgusted, my health is like a business? The doctor also agreed I needed an MRI but that probably won’t be happening for about 6 more months due to pre-existing condition issues.
So I moved on and was calmly checking the mail one day in December when I get a bill from my doctor. It was for a co-pay of $20. Beleiving naively this was a simple misunderstanding I call my insurance company:
Insurance: The doctor’s office billed it as a wellness visit and not an annual, they just need to change the billing code.
Me: Great, can you call the doctor and just explain that to them?
Insurance: *Yells* NO! We don’t talk to doctors.
Silly me, thinking doctors and insurance companies actually talk to each other.
I call the doctor’s office and get transferred to the billing department
Billing Man looking at my file: Hmmmmm well I see here there is a note about your neck, you came to see the doctor about your neck.
Me: No I came in for an annual women’s exam, she asked me if there were any other issues while performing the PAP and I told her about my neck
Billing Man: Hmmmmmm well if you talk about your neck during your PAP then it’s not actually an annual exam.
Me: Please talk to the doctor, it was an annual exam, I assure you she saw more than I want anyone to ever see of me.
We agree he will speak with the doctor and call me back. He never calls me back and I get another bill. In January I go to the doctor for another unrelated issue I go into the billing department and speak with a billing girl, an argument ensues about my neck and my PAP (things you want other people to hear about in a waiting room of course).
Finally the doctor’s office calls me a week later telling me that they will write it off. Whatever that means. However, I am still dealing with this due to having bloodwork done for the annual, I have turned it over to my HR department who can now fight with them over PAPs and necks.
Here is a friend of mine’s story who also had an issue trying to see a doctor about something besides her annual in her post Pussyfooting Around. All I can say is should it really be this complicated? Isn’t visiting your doctor about your health and not about a mini-war with insurance companies?
What are your thoughts on insurance companies?