Tuesday, November 21, 2006

And once more

So I just got off the phone with the medical center I owe money to.

I’m not getting charged for the other patient’s medical bills but I did find out that she’s eighty years old, which tells me two things. One, she’s probably not going to be all that interested in giving the hospital hell and two, way to disclose more patient information there.

I am very frustrated with the whole situation right now.

For example, the pregnancy test that I wasn’t told about it, and I sure as hell didn’t consent to:

The woman on the phone tells me: “Oh, that’s required because of the medication we gave you.”

I say, “but I wasn’t told about it.”

She says, “If the woman is sexually active and we’re going to give her medication that can harm the fetus we want to make absolutely sure she’s not pregnant because sometimes women come in here and they don’t even know they’re pregnant.”

I say, “but nobody took a sexual history, or even told me about the test.”

She says, “It’s required, we just want to make sure that they take the best care possible of you when you go in the emergency room.”

And I’m not really sure how to respond to this. Laugh maybe, or cry? It’s so fucked up I don’t even know where to begin.

After fifteen minutes on the phone the woman is starting to get exasperated with me and she tells me, “Everything we’re billing for is something you received.” I fight my natural inclination to be cowed and I tell her “I’m being charged a large sum of money and I would like to know exactly what I am paying for.”

But there is nobody who can be held accountable. That's the problem isn't it? There is no specific person who fucked up everything, just an accumulation of minor fuck ups. A big, amorphous, systematic fuck up.

I’m not sure where to go from here. I can’t fight the fact that the price of just stepping foot in the emergency room is over $800 and I can’t fight the fact that my insurance was shit.

It’s been six months now and I can’t recall every detail of the care I received. And while I have a general sense of what is above board and what isn’t, I don’t really know specifics. As it stands, I have verified that a large chunk of the (my) bill is legitimate. After all, I can’t deny I went to the emergency room even if I find the cost criminal.

So, I can either take the hospital’s word on the necessity of the every test run or I can spend hours of my life trying to fight them. This means taking time away from the important things in my life like work, tutoring, and graduate school applications. This means sneaking into the break room and hoping there’s nobody there, or making calls from my car, since I leave for work before the offices open and I get home after they have closed.

It’s very tempting to bend over and smile for a quick fuck up the ass, courtesy of the health care system.


edluv said...

can we help in any way?

your story reminds me of the need in our society for drastic change in the health care system. i know others would say that we all need to take care of our own stuff, and that the government shouldn't be responsible for it, but that just doesn't cut it for me. so many industrialized nations have state health care, they do a fine job at it.

for being the world leader, we're pathetic in so many areas.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the offer of help Ed!

My father has already offered to pay the bill. He has this crazy notion that he owes me for being so financially independent. As much as I loath to take my parent's money, they can afford it more than I can.

$1,700 is no small sum to me but I'm lucky enough to have savings, good credit, and parents offering help. However, I recognize that it's exactly that.. luck.

The situation is frustrating to me because I feel it shouldn't be luck that allows me to see a doctor and still eat and pay rent.

Also, a lot of the money I owe is just for being in the medical fascilities. For example, I had an ultrasound which cost me $48 to the medical group that actually did the ultrasound. However I also owe over $300 to the center that houses the medical group. How do you fight that? Technically I did incure these costs but the costs are frankly, in my mind, unethical.

I'm completely baffled by the notion of privatizing medicine; the government should play a role in health care. After all, a country has a vested interest in the health and well-being of its people.

I have more to say but since I should probably do some work.. blah, blah, crazy liberal talk, blah, etc.


edluv said...

maybe if the dems weren't so worried about your lady issues they could get some health care out there for us all. especially those of us who've been equipped with dangling organs.

Scott & Malisa Johnson said...

After Emily was born we had all sorts of bills coming in.(she had some complications that first week) And so I totally know how you feel. Scott and I both had insurance, and paid extra each month to make sure that our medical bills were 100% covered. However, we still got billed over $80,000. Six weeks later, my maternity leave now over, I finally got it figured out... or so I thought. A year later, we get yet another bill.

So frustrating, and to those who have already heard the sob story while it was going on... sorry. It still pisses me off. There is so little communication between healthcare providers, labs, and facilities. Trying to keep track of all the little tests, different doctors, and procedures can be a nightmare. I totally understand your frustration.

Ann Thrope said...

Ed - Something tells me it isn't my "lady parts" keeping us from having decent healthcare. If the dems can't even grow a fucking pair and defend my reproductive health, how in the hell are they going to defend the rest of my health, and yours, and everybody elses?

Malisa - I can't even fathom receiving a bill for $80,000.

Adam said...

I have a hunch that Ed was kidding, but hey, who knows. The thing about the lady parts is that the issue was decided decades ago. A little court case called Roe v. Wade.

The people that are obsessed with lady parts are the fucking jackasses (mostly Repubs) who can't keep their noses out of others' health choices.

It's pretty simple. You don't like abortions. Don't get one. I don't like rhinoplasty but I'm not advocating the criminalization of it.

Ann Thrope said...

I was pretty sure Ed was kidding but according to The Man Hating Feminist Womanifesto, I'm obliged to be completely humorous.

I mean less!


edluv said...

i thought i posted a comment last night. let's see if i can re-create it now.

i was joking. and, i don't think you're a man hating feminist. or humorless.

as for adam's assertion that roe v. wade settled it for all time, i'm going to disagree. court cases continue to modify the position held by our democracy about abortion. what was legal at one point, may not be legal later. for instance, there were court cases that legalized slavery. they have since changed. this is not to equate slavery with abortion, but rather to demonstrate that a court ruling can change. and, i'd also throw it out there that people opposed to abortion may not be "fucking jackasses (mostly Repubs) who can't keep their noses out of others' health choices" but rather have a different understanding about when life begins.

but, this is another discussion for another day.

as for the dem's ability to "grow a pair", i think both parties should re-evaluate their position on the issue of health care. but, in my opinion, neither has the intestinal fortitude to really take a stand and provide for a healthier society, like most other industrialized nations.

of course, that's just my opinion on a role of goverment.

Ann Thrope said...

However, imposing your belief on when life begins in the form of legal restrictions on the health and freedom of real, actual, most definitely alive women..

Why yes, that would be jackassery.

edluv said...

so, it's alright to impose your belief about when life begins, which about half of the us poplution agrees with, on the other half?

because, i'm sure we can both trot out scientific studies & sources that would argue about what is happening @ the differing stages of devlopment. and, depending on how you define life, these stages will either have life starting from conception all the way to the first breath.

because, if life begins somewhere before a baby being removed from the mother's body and drawing that first breath, than you would be tampering with it's freedoms and rights.

now, relating this issue to universalized health care, i find my side to be in harmony. as one who values the principle of life above most, if not all other (principles, not people), i want society to aid and protect life as much as possible. when we have tremendous gaps in coverage we fail to provide the inalienable rights of life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness.

of course, the existence of inalienable rights is as debatable as the beginning point of life.

edluv said...

sorry, most of the time where i say life in the preceding comment, human should be inserted before the word life. i think that adds a bit of clarity.

(the word verif. is fkswp. perhaps if we eliminated the fkswp, we wouldn't have to answer the abortion question. of course, we'd also have to utilize less traditional methods for baby making.)

Ann Thrope said...

No Ed, I am not imposing my belief on anybody. I would never force or even coerce anybody to have an abortion.

I believe in access to contraception, comprehensive sex education, support for single mothers (and fathers), and the right of a woman to decide whether she is going to have a baby.

I respect your right to believe that an embryo is equivalent to a human life and if you could become pregnant, I would support your decision to keep the pregnancy.

All I ask is that you respect the right of women to believe otherwise and to act accordingly.