The not day continues and continues and…

I came home on Friday, early afternoon, from not getting my MRI to a message on my phone answering machine. Yes! I am old and old school – otherwise I wouldn’t be getting MRIs done on my knee. The message was from the doctor’s office which requested the test. I called back immediately upon hearing the message. The message that I received once their phone was answered led me to believe that no one was going to call me back until after the weekend.

Late Monday morning, my call was returned by someone in the orthopedist’s office. I explained that the MRI was not done because of the bone-growth stimulator in my back. She would check with the doctor to see what he wanted to do and get back to me. He was not going to be in the office until Wednesday.

On Wednesday she called back. The doctor insisted on an MRI and I would have to get the bone growth stimulator removed. “Okay, I’ll look into it.”

I called the office of the surgeon who performed by spinal fusion surgery in 2013. They had changed computer systems so no longer had my records easily accessible.

My call was passed around the office a couple of times as I got answers to the myriad of questions I had. A set of medical questions was answered by one person: “How long of an operation? What would be my recovery time? How long would I be off work? Is this out-patient or an overnight situation?”

Once these questions were answered: “About an hour. A few days. One or two days. Out-patient.” I was passed on to someone who would answer the money questions. My first question was a long shot, but, hey, I had to try: “When I had the original surgery and they put the bone growth stimulator in, the doctor said that if it bothered me, he could take it out. I don’t suppose that was part of the package deal that stretches out over 12 years?”

“No.”

I didn’t think so, but I had to ask.

The Office Manager who I was talking to was more than polite. She was also sympathetic as I explained my situation.

In addition to needing the MRI, I was at the beginning of my medical year for insurance purposes. Since the new year started on July 1, I had to accumulate a $4000 deductible (a new high) before the medical insurance would kick in. The facility giving me the MRI had already collected $200 towards that bill which I could not pay in full.

The woman said that the doctor’s cost would be about $600-$650, but then there would be the hospital bill and the anesthesiologist’s costs. “Who’s your medical coverage with?”

I answered, and her quick response was, “Oh, dear.”

As of August 1, this medical office was not accepting my insurance provider. They had been negotiating, it might happen later, but as of right now…

I thanked her for her time. I guess I should either not have aches and pains in my knee or had them at a different time of the year.

I called the orthopedist’s office back. The woman I talked to said that she would talk to the doctor and get back to me.

When she did, she said the doctor was insistent that I get the stimulator removed so that I could get the MRI on my knee.

Easy for him to say.

I feel so loved and appreciated as a human being.

On a slightly separate note, a few days later I received a card in the mail, completely a surprise, that touted reduced pharmaceutical costs by using this card.

On my next visit to my pharmacy, I took the card (according to the accompanying letter, it was already activated.) The pharmacy clerk acknowledged that I was correct: It would be this card OR our existing medical coverage. Either, or; not and.

She very nicely checked to see which was the least expensive option to fill my script. The new card increased the price on the first prescription. Significantly.

She tried again on the second pills. It reduced the price by (drum roll) a nickel!

I decided that I’d put the nickel towards my looming deductible and asked her to input the information on that new card as a back-up for the entire family’s needs.

A few days later, the biggest curve ball was thrown when my husband arrived home from his first shift job at 9:30 a.m. He had been laid-off.

We certainly didn’t see that coming.

Neither did I see a week later when I received a bill for $5,000 for the MRI that I did not have.

I don’t even understand that. If I have, no matter how temporarily, a $4,000 deductible, why isn’t my bill for $4,000 (less the $200 I’d paid)?

My general practitioner tried to help out by re-writing my prescriptions for 90 days rather than the typical 30. We might be able to get those in before the September 1 end of coverage deadline.

The last time I went to get my blood pressure medicine I was told the price had jumped from $140 to more than $200 under the usual medical coverage. I was so stunned when the clerk told me this, I didn’t catch any number past the “2”. I asked her to check that other card.

The price dropped to about $50.

It was later, after I was home that I realized that jump had been because I had received the 90 day supply. So, then, it was understandable and explainable.

Maybe if I could just stop dealing with the medical situation, I wouldn’t need blood pressure medication.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to move on to a less stressful activity: applying for coverage under the Affordable Care Act. No worries there. Right?

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