Saturday, October 18, 2008

Doctor's office rant

I must preface this whole rant, and believe me, it's a rant; with saying that I never expect anything to be free, but I do require that it be fair.

The last time I was at my gynae's office, the cashier lady asked me if I had gotten my letter from them yet about the payments. I said "no, what payments?" She said, "Oh, it's the payments that you'll have to pay for the baby and once you've paid, you won't have to pay for the doctor visits anymore."

No, I hadn't gotten that letter yet.

I got it last, last Friday.

It wasn't really a letter, more like a statement that detailed the
  1. estimated charges for delivery by my doctor (~$2200)
  2. the amount of my insurance deductible that had been met (according to them, none)
  3. the amount that my insurance would cover after the deductible had been met
  4. the amount that I was responsible for after the deductible had been met
  5. The total amount that I was responsible for (>$1600)
  6. When it needed to paid in full by (12/18/08)
I can't even type the cuss words (my mom might read this one day, sorry mom!)

I was mad because I've already spent over $2000 in medical expenses this year so surely some of that counted towards my deductible. I just couldn't believe that they wanted me to pay this amount of money in that amount of time (my own naievty, I suppose). You know how when you get so angry, you just cry. Ya, that's how fucking angry I was. Perhaps a tad bit emotional? Isn't that what pregnant ladies do?

So I called my insurance company on Monday and I spoke to Elizabeth (very sweet lady) and asked her how much of my deductible I had met. She said that I had met $896 of the $1500 deductible. A ha!

I called up the doctor's office and spoke to a lady, who after much, "cajoling" shall we say, finally released her name to me. Also Elizabeth, but not like the Elizabeth from the insurance company. (side note: when I ask you for you name, it's because I want to say "Thank you, Name"; for fuck's sake; just tell me a name) Told her that I
  1. got the "letter"
  2. spoke to the insurance and they said I've met $896, why does the letter say that I met zero?
Doctor's office Elizabeth said that she would check on it and call me back.

She called me back the next day.

She said that the insurance deductible resets every year and because the delivery is anticipated in 2009, my deductible would have reset and I wouldn't have to pay the full deductible again.

Fair enough.

So I asked her, "If these charges are applying to the 2009 deductible, and the services that you are billing me for aren't even going to occur in 2009, why do I have to pay this in 2008?"

I got transfered to Barbara.

Barbara plainly told me that it is the policy of the clinic to have all their pregnant patients pay their delivery charges by their fifth month because that gives them enough time to find "alternatives" if they can't make the payments.

At this point, I had to get off the phone with Barbara because, frankly, I wanted to cuss her ass out. I know she's not personally responsible, but I've been a patient there since 1998, my credit score is something like 728 and I pay my fucking bills, people. On time. In full. Every month.

It's not the money.

It's the principle.

So I just had to take a moment.

I talked to some peeps, who had not heard of this "pre-pay" business, including my insurance agent and the folks at the insurance company who concluded that although it was ethically questionable, it wasn't illegal.

I called the doctor's office back Monday and spoke with Venita. I really enjoyed speaking with Venita, she's the only one that I spoke to at the doctor's office that made me feel like she gave a damn. Thank you Venita.

I really don't have a problem paying the charges, I don't agree with the policy that they have or the terms that they were proposing. I was able to ask Venita all the questions that I had and we both came to a payment agreement. I definitely still feel like the doctor's office has the upper hand in the deal, and the patient really is at their mercy.

That's how the situation was resolved. As you can tell, I'm still a little bitter about the whole ordeal.

Oh well. Life goes on. There'll be more bills to come, I'm sure.

Oh, I can't wait till my next appointment there.

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