So back in October my little guy went in to the doc for a minor operation.
It really was minor, the removal of a tiny skin tag which, had it been anywhere else, would have involved a local dab of xylocaine, a snip, a band-aid and a lollipop. But this one was on his eyelid, so we had to go the entire operating theatre route to keep him still enough for the plastic surgeon to whack it and throw a single stitch.He did a great job, and you can't even see where this goofy thing was. And his classmates no longer tease the Peep about his freaky eye booger.
But while the skin tag is gone, the medical bills keep coming, reminders of the Byzantine fucking complexity of our medical system.
There's the hospital bill, the surgeon's bill, the lab bill, the anaesthesiologist's bill...
And then there's the insurance claim, and that's where the REAL frigging mess begins.
Because nothing's simple there. There's the billed amounts, the "provider's discount" (WTF? So you're telling me that the physicians, surgeons and the hospital had padded the bastard enough to knock the official billed price down 30% or so and STILL make a profit?), the amount we have to pay on our personal deductible, the amount not covered because it's part of our family deductible, the part not covered because it's part of our "total-out-of-pocket" expenses, the part the insurance plan covers at 80% and the part that it covers at 60% (forget 100%, Giacomo...that don't happen...)I've been calling the insurance company and talking to all of these very helpful, very knowledgable people...it's hard for me to hate them personally. But the entire system requires a tremendous amount of unpaid time on my part to track down this information and try and apply it to everyone's bills.
And then I talk to my parents, who lived in Dusseldorf for many years, and they tell me that when my mother saw the doctors there she got a single bill, with a cost, the amount paid by the national health (usually something like 90% or better) and the amount they owed. They were done with the nonsense when they walked out of the clinic or the hospital.
Plus there's the irritation factor. Why the hell didn't Blue Cross apply the $500 that Mojo paid upfront to Peep's deductible? And once they do, and once we pay off the remaining $750 we owe to cover our $2K "out-of-pocket" costs, why do they then not pay their expected 80% of the anesthesiologist's bill, on which they have payed nothing?Add this all together and I'm left doing a slow burn; hating the insurance company for doing what private insurers have to do - making it difficult for me to spend their money and fuck up their balance sheet - and causing me to spend all this time on the phone, hating the medical providers for complicating the billing process and padding their costs, and hating the people who are so worried that this wonderful system is going to be "changed" by health care reform.
And I'm a pretty sharp guy. Makes me wonder what the dull-normal people do when they have to deal with this stuff..?
I mean, it's better than bleeding and purging, but, still...