January marks the 2 year anniversary of my cancer surgery. For my type of cancer this is kind of a big deal, or so I have been told by my oncologist and the results of various studies. So, my doctor told me to schedule my annual full body ultrasound scans to make sure there is still no sign of anything hiding anywhere in my body. I made the appointment and was supposed to have the tests yesterday. SUPPOSED To until the hospital called me the day before! I was working, so they left a voicemail informing me that the hospital portion of the test was $1,000 dollars and since I had not met my (very high) insurance deductible, I was welcome to pay them the full amount upon arrival by cash, check or credit card!
I called back to try to arrange a monthly payment plan with them, as I had in the past. Every single time I had to do that, I paid the agreed upon installment on time (or earlier) each and every month until I had paid in full. When both my husband and I had cancer in the same year, this was how I paid ALL of our medical bills.
When I called to make this "simple" arrangement, I was informed that I could pay only $500 and finance the rest. Upon further discussion (somewhat frantic on my end), I was given the final option of pay one third ($334 dollars) up front. Now, that might sound reasonable and would have been a few years back under different job circumstances, but this was still totally undoable for me at this time. When I asked WHY I could not just pay monthly for the entire charge as I have done many times before, I was told, "We don't do that anymore; so, will you be canceling your appointment?" I (somewhat hysterically) responded, "Well, I guess so!!! No Problem! I don't have to know if my cancer has returned or not, because I obviously couldn't afford to do anything if it did!!!", and snapped off my phone. Quick side note: It was SO much more satisfying when I could SLAM a phone to hang up versus the new method of clicking!
I called my doctor's office and left them a voice message (no office answers the phone anymore) to tell them about the situation and why I would not be able to have these important tests for a few more months until I could come up with at least a down payment. I am still waiting for a response.
Somewhere over the past couple of days, I have decided to shake this off. I am pretty sure a couple of months wait for these tests is not such a big deal, simply because I was told initially that if the Big C DID come back within 2 years it was pretty much...BYE! Even so, I needed the time to even be able to vent it fully by blogging it out.
The American Health Care System...or, The American Health Care Nightmare? Working adults paying for health insurance for their entire lives and then where is it when you need it! I spent an entire 32 year career working for a major health insurance company and was laid off 1 year before I could retire with paid health and life insurance for life...oops!!! Wonder what bean counter caught that one just in time! So, we pay for inferior coverage at a high cost through my husband's employer (one of the biggest employer's in the WORLD!) Gotta love it! Now, if we were "indigent" (and no slights intended toward the indigent), I could have filled out paperwork to get a monthly payment plan without a down payment to get my tests done. What!?! I would think because we are NOT (thank God) indigent that they might think we would have a better shot at actually paying them!
GRRRR....OK, it is out before it can do any more damage. After all, 'tis the Season and I did have a blessing from my employer yesterday in the form of a bonus. Not enough to pay for my tests, but enough to buy a couple of small gifts for my children and DH and have a nice Holiday meal together. And, this is more important to me right now than fueling the health care industry with my desperation.