Thursday, December 26, 2013

Stressful, Somewhat Productive Day


I felt brave.  Put it off for a long time. But, Today!  A telephone day.  A day of reckoning. Of explanations. A day of degrading frustration with a little success.

I spent over 2 hours on-hold while making calls to various medical providers regarding billings and statements I’ve received, to find out  about some payment plan.  All I can say is thank goodness I kept the land-line. Though most are local calls, a few offer toll-free calling.  A few extend no phone option at all.  Just send the damned check and go away, already! The cellphone would have given up the ghost half way through the morning.

On the phone since 8:30 this morning; successful in reaching the offices of 10 providers.  Two were even helpful. Two others were rude as all get-out, 2 will call back, and another office remains closed for the holiday.  Yes, even today!  I didn’t know we recognized the Boxing Day holiday in the US...

Aside from the 2 closed offices, I was put on hold by every other provider.  And only 2 offered to return my call instead of forcing me to endure elevator music and frequent updates of the current waiting time ‘until the next available service representative would take my call.’

I took a break for lunch, then went right back to it. It’s now after 3 pm and I doubt any more calls will be taken, (these offices seem to enjoy banker’s hours) I’m getting tired and confused by all the language and TLAs tossed around me. I think it’s time to call it a day. 

For all that, the imposing stack of statements has been reduced by 10, so that is quite a day’s work, to say the least. By the 10, I mean 10 different medical entities who provided care during these past 4 months. Labs, ER staff, other tests, x-rays, MRI and CT scans, medications, blood products, hospital rooms, attending physicians, etc.  I had no idea things were handled this way. Talk about a convoluted and wasteful system!!!

Seems billing is done separately by individual providers.  Matching the dates of service with the statements is a nightmare. I think I’ll keep better tabs on each one in the future. 

I have yet to hear from the state assistance outreach program, which I hope will be retroactive - if approved at all - to the filing date in October. 

Mission Accomplished? No, not by a long shot. Oh, and a few items to get tossed were actually duplicate statements, so the stack has been reduced substantially.  (As he heaves a great sigh of relief.) 

Poke me with a fork, I’m done!

And so it goes.

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9 comments:

  1. my spouse can tell you stories about the nightmare of healthcare providers, since he works in the industry. we are so FUCKED when it comes to healthcare in the USA. and bob forbid you have a serious complication! I would love to have a cradle-to-grave plan like they do in sweden.

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  2. The reason Obama made health care a priority in his administration was because he saw what his mother had to go through during her final illness. You and others like you have enough stress with your medical situation, you should not have to have the additional stress of sorting through and trying to make sense of the avalanche of medical paperwork (bills and statements). This country is so backwards when it comes to medical care. It is a crime. All I can do is wish you good luck and hope dealing with it doesn't make you even sicker.

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  3. Are you allowed to have some marinated olives? You know the kind.

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    Replies
    1. I replied to this yesterday, but it seems to have been swallowed up by Blogger. I said:
      Yes Peter, I know the kind. There is a bottle of Bombay Sapphire waving at me from across the room. It's only a matter of time before...

      Delete
  4. OMG! Do they dispense free blood pressure tablets over there? 'Cos it sounds like you (and everyone else needing health care) must be in dire need of them.

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  5. there is nothing more off setting for me than what you just did
    you are a brave man.
    http://theoatmeal.com/comics/customer_service

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. See? I am only one of millions who share this experience. Gee, thanks. I feel no better now. ;-)

      Delete
  6. Sorry to hear that, that is hell!

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