Sunday, August 8, 2010

Don't Know Where To Begin

I hate to admit how fearful of and angry at the health care industries I've become. Nobody likes to deal with the hassle of insurance companies, billing departments, pharmacies, careless or thoughtless docs, offices that close at noon, medical records etc. The hassle really is taken to a whole new level when you start dealing with a chronic condition that keeps you involved regularly for years on end. I guess it's natural to feel the way I do about it.

I live in constant fear that I'll lose my insurance, or that it will become so expensive that I can't afford it (though I know I can't afford to be without it either). Right now I have a great neurologist but outside of her office I'm fearful about receiving a hastily given label that could impede my treatment. I'm scared of medical and billing mistakes. I understand human are involved and so mistakes will happen, but the medical establishment doesn't seem to have that same understanding. They just won't admit to errors (I'm sure some do - I just haven't seen it happen) so getting them corrected is very difficult. The business of medicine is so big, so wealthy and so powerful - being a chronic pain patient and customer is very intimidating.

While I'm no good at dealing the stress, anger and frustration I feel whenever I have to deal with the medical industries I have some strategies for dealing with them:

1. Keep really good records - of everything. Having your own files for every visit, every test, every bill, etc. can make your life a lot easier when you have questions or disputes about what happened.

2. Be polite and respectful when dealing with problems. This is SO hard. The last thing any of us needs is to deal with crap on top of the health crap we are already fighting. I've certainly lost my cool a time or two when confronted with someone who just doesn't care about "your problem." But the old saying is true - you get more with honey... You need people on the inside to be on your side in order to get a positive outcome.

3. Enlist some help. I just can't manage all of this by myself, especially in the migraine fog. I try not to make any calls without first talking to someone else about what's going on. Partly to vent and partly to make sure I haven't missed something or am not being unreasonable in some way. It happens.

I honestly don't even know where to begin in dealing with the most troubling aspects of the medical industries and the stresses I feel surrounding them. To say it is overwhelming would be a huge understatement. Mostly I try not to think about - that's right, some good old fashioned avoidance. I'm open to advice though...


  1. I have found sometimes that visits get billed with absolutely wrong diagnosis codes and then don't pay correctly. Finding the will power to get something corrected when you are sick is almost impossible, because the people on both sides (the insurance co and the medical office) don't fix it or care to fix it. sigh...and I work in the medical billing industry.

  2. I so hear you on this. I'm lucky to have Medicare, but I just started the donut hole portion where they don't pay anything on your drugs until you spend a certain amount. It's scary some of my treatment meds cost $350+. Sigh.

  3. I actually had to deal with my insurance company today! They were refusing to pay for my new script of Sumavel DosePro (12 injectables)...which is over $600 out of pocket. Luckily I was able to get my Neuro to call Aetna and I got if covered...100%! Not even my usual co-pay! So far I have been lucky (knock on wood) and have had no other issues. My problem is with obtaining long term disability through work. They have pre-existing condition I am screwed for the future! =(

  4. I think its hard having to deal with that level of fear on top of your illness itself. I am praying for National Health Insurance for all Americans.