So my wife showed up for a doctor’s appointment last week, part of a short series of treatments by a pain specialist, and she was turned away because our health insurance company hadn’t paid for the previous treatments. We owed $3,000.
We called the insurance company, and they said they’d need further details from the doctor before they could release payment. We called the doctor’s office, but he had gone on vacation and no one else on staff would be able to satisfy the insurance company. So we waited a week.
Yesterday, knowing the doctor was back, and facing the prospect of having another appointment canceled, my wife called him again and was shunted immediately to the facility’s billing office. They said even more bills had been returned unpaid by the insurance company, to the tune of $7,000.
Until this was taken care of, they said, our entire family would be refused any further treatment of any sort.
Let’s set aside for the moment the stress of suddenly discovering you owe thousands for care you thought insured, care your doctor prescribed. Let’s set aside the increasing frustration at a health-for-profit system in this nation. Let’s set aside any ridiculous arguments about socialism. Let’s even set aside the irony of being refused service by companies with names like “United Healthcare” and “Mercy Health Systems.”
Let’s just consider that here we are, two working people, taking productive time from our own jobs (because you can’t call these people after office hours), to try to get our insurance company and our care provider to talk to each other.
We need a cut of what they’re both getting paid, to reimburse us for our time and aggravation.