Friday, October 31, 2008

Oh, Healthcare, how miserable thou art Healthcare.

First off, I am signing the consent form so that Meghan can have a flu shot this year. Noting thimerosal-free. Nick's is next week because he has asthma.

Also having terrible healthcare issues. Again! It’s the usual song and dance and proof that nothing is ever simple when it comes to doctor visits, autism and the bloody health care war. I pay for health insurance like everyone else, so why is it always so difficult to get anything covered?

Meghan’s new pediatrician—the one near her school—is covered on our health insurance, otherwise she wouldn’t be able to got there. And I’m relieved because this pediatrician is a great resource; he comes to the school once per month to see the kids, so they don’t have to go to his office. And he works with the superior nursing staff at her school (our own personal nurse and contact person) and they are both very good and very thorough—hence the four calls I got from her just yesterday. She calls whenever Meghan needs to have medical services. Lately, however, Meghan has needed to visit both Children’s Hospital and Metro West Hospital for tests. Children’s for an audiology visit, since she hasn’t had a hearing test since she was 3; and since the pediatrician asked for the test and gave the referral, then why did I get a 400.00 bill in the mail??? Now the doctor wants her to have a formal scoliosis test (Meghan doesn’t stand up straight) and even though her spine appears to be straight, they want her to have the test. So, I said HOLD because I need to call my health insurance and see if it’s covered, hence the 400.00 “surprise” and due to the fiasco from last year, this is not a sure bet.

Last year I visited Franciscan Hospital with both my kids so that I could have another (formal) evaluation of their progress and another professional diagnosis for Nick. I was told that this hospital was wonderful for formal evaluations. I made sure that my health insurance would cover the appointment and they had assured me that it would be covered; even the hospital assured me that my health insurance would cover the cost of the evaluations.

On the day of the appointment, which took almost a year to get, we saw the doctor for only 10 minutes. Apparently our first visit was just for a meeting to find out what we wanted. I was confused because I thought I’d made it clear of what I wanted. Well the doctor, who wasn’t very friendly—actually she was very moody—took our information about the kids, measured their heads (like that was necessary) and then we were out of there in 10. That’s 10 minutes. I know this for fact because my parking meter told me so.

Couldn’t we have just done that over the phone, and then I could have shown up for the actual evaluations?

I was then, again, placed on their waiting list for the actually ”work” that the doctors would have to actually “do.” In the meantime they slapped me with an 800.00 bill for the whole 10 minutes for their trouble. And due to a technicality in how the hospital billed my insurance, it was not covered.

Ohhh, did I raise bloody hell! After 2 days worth of phone calls, the hospital finally told me that they would "settle" for 100 bucks, after the 50.00 I’d already invested in the copay.

When it was all set and done, it cost me 150.00 to take off a day of work, drive 1.5 hours each way for only 10 minutes and all FOR ABSOLUTELY NOTHING!

Then I called Children’s Hospital (last choice for an evaluation, but I had no other alternative) to have Nick re-evaluated and they told me that they couldn’t be certain if my health insurance would cover the evaluation until on the actual day of the visit. Strange, but true! So I declined.

O healthcare, healthcare, wherefore art thou healthcare.

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