I had to hold back my fury at my healthcare provider. Again.
You should know that this was several weeks after they explained away their refusal to pay for my mammogram as regular ole’ company policy. It’s my error, a company rep told me. I had picked the plan that includes yearly exams, but only for women over the age of 39. Hadn’t I read the fine print?
Well, no. I hadn’t. My mother is a two-time breast cancer survivor, and I’m serious about making sure my tatas are only lumpy where they’re supposed to be. That’s why I went and got an annual mammogram last year, confidently handing over my insurance card and then plunking “my girls” on the glass.
I never expected to get a bill in the mail later. But it’s the kind of thing I should’ve been able to anticipate if I’d just paid closer attention. See, I pay three times for all my doctor’s visit. There’s the payment due by the first of each month. Then there’s the co-payment due at the time of service. These first two things are common for freelancers like me with individual plans.
What’s irritating and maybe unusual for most people is that after each visit, I get another bill a few weeks later that goes towards my annual deductible. I always thought deductibles were a dollar amount you had to pay up to first; and then once that amount was reached, the healthcare provider picked up the tab in full for the rest of the year. My insurance company doesn’t work that way, though; they pay a percentage of each and every visit until the deductible is met. I guess that’s good if you don’t want to pay the deductible all at once. But for a hypochondriac like me, it means getting an extra doctor’s bill in the mail all the time.
My frustration finally inspired me to check out the Obamacare website. It’s been getting its butt kicked since October 1st and is sending the president’s approval ratings into a nosedive. So I was pleasantly surprised at what I found.
For one thing, the process wasn’t intimidating or confusing or vomit-inducing as I’d been led to believe from news reports. Granted, I have the benefit of Kathleen Sebelius and her crew fixing all those “glitches” over the past seven weeks.
I didn’t get stopped on any pages. Nothing froze. In my impatience to let a lengthy, text-heavy section load, I hit the “refresh” button and had to go back to the beginning of my application. But all of my information remained stored, so after hitting “Next” a few times in quick succession, I was back to where I wanted to be. It was pretty painless, to tell you the truth.
The best part is that my monthly insurance costs have decreased by almost 40%. I didn’t think figures like that were possible.
It makes me want to call my current insurance people and tell them they can stop the appeal I put through to get that year-old mammogram paid. I’ve ranted at them for months that they have an insane policy in place that doesn’t take preventative measures against an ailment that almost feels inevitable for someone with my family history. Why won’t they help me catch this thing early? Where’s the common sense?
Luckily, with the new plan I’ll have beginning January 1st, this won’t happen again. Thank God for that. And thank Obama.