Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Trini Tuesday-Sorta Kinda Maybe

Thanks to everyone for the well wishes. My kitchen has become a pharmacy as I now dispense antibiotics, prescription strength mucous thinners and decongestants, along with the good old ibuprofen. Absurd amounts of medicine bu everyone should be on the mend now. In fact, people are feeling well enough to be argumentative...I'm reminding myself this is a good thing.

I schlepped all three of the Limelets to the doctor yesterday. The tally is 2 cases of sinusitis, an ear infection, borderline bronchitis, and a partridge in a pear tree. Wait, no....that last one was for the vet....

Now here is where I need to rant just a teeny weeny bit. All three kids were seen by the same PA at the same time. ONE office visit. Now I realize there were THREE patients but it was ONE family at the same time. We were charged 3 separate office visits at $75 each...I'll wait while you compute....yep, that's right, folks...$225 just in office visits!!!! We do not have one of those plans with the cheapo copays. We pay the full price then I (not the office staff) have to submit it and be reimbursed PARTIALLY. Of course, we only get that partial reimbursement after we've met the nice big deductible. Until yesterday, we had payed not one cent toward the yearly deductible, so yep, we get to eat that bill. Now mind you, I want my kids well and you can't really put a price on that but I asked, 'Can't you give me some sort of a break for bringing three in at once? This is a heap of money and I haven't even paid for antibiotics yet .'(and lucky us, we are allergic to penicillin so that wipes out whole classes of nice cheap drugs...I usually wind up with $75 to $100 antibiotics for the kids...are you ringing this all up in your head? And gee, sorry, we don't have any samples we can help you out with.) Everyone sort of shrugged nonchalantly and said, 'No, sorry that's the way it is.' I said, 'You do realize you just charged me a grocery bill for 10 minutes of your time?' Crickets. They wouldn't even make eye contact after that. That kind of shit* is going to give lawyers a good name.

Ok, ok, it's Tuesday so time for something related to Trinidad. Rewind many years to when Diana was about 2 and got sick. I took her to a pediatrician on the island who diagnosed her with something requiring penicillin. Pay the doctor. Take the child and the medicine home. Give her a couple of doses and she has an allergic reaction. Call the doctor. He says bring her right in. He opens his office at a time when he doesn't normally have hours, checks the child, gives her a different antibiotic. I say thank you and ask what I owe him for this visit. The man looks at me like I am from Mars and says, 'What?' I repeat my question and he responds with, 'Miss, we only charged once per illness like this. I prescribed her a medicine which did not work. You owe me nothing.' Aaaahhhh.....

(*yes, I realize a lot of this has to do with the soulless insurance companies, frivolous lawsuits, etc....the entire system is broken)

25 comments:

David said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
David said...

Has capitalism been a good thing? How about we throw a big a party and get social? I like the party thing better but thats just me.

There were to many errors in the first post.

James Goodman said...

that sucks big time, Lime and yes I blame your predicament on the vile insurance industry. I would agree with making a go at socializd medicine if i hadn't had several good doses of it over the years. Long lines and lackluster appraisals that have you feeling like a clog rolling along an assembly line have hardened me against making such a drastic move, but something definately needs to change. Perhaps, there is a reform in order, one that will come up with a fair common ground.

G-Man said...

That sounds like a Bob Marley tune......
One Illness, One Cure!

Now go lay down and get some rest!!!.....Galen xx

snavy said...

The multiple payments for the same freaking appointment has always made me furious!!!!

I also think follow-ups should be covered by the same pre-paid fee.

Ameratis said...

I must say that is one reason I miss being under the military. It was all paid for in full! I almost went into epeleptic shock when I had to pay my first doctors fee. I am surprised there hasn't been an uproar.

Top cat said...

glad to hear you guys are on the mend.
That's a helluva lot of money and you know what? each year it's going to get even more expensive.
My rant begins now...........
Why do other countries pay very little for prescriptions but we here in America can pay $75-150 whereas in their countries it's probably something around $5-10.
Like everything else we are subsidizing the rest of the world.
It's time to TAKE CARE OF OUR OWN!

Drugs would also cost a lot less if Drug companies didn't feel necessary to give us Mini-movies for their commercials, I swear they run for 3 minutes or more.
How long do you need to show a butterfly hovering over my bed or a woman in a swing and then they repeat it for god's sake.

ttfootball said...

Ah yes...our health care is SO much cheaper in trinidad hehe. Sometimes my grandma schedules dental appointments when she visits, it works out cheaper depending on what u get than to pay the copays in the US.

Here's a lovely doctor story for you: my plan benefit was TT$50 (which was listed on my card). The doctor charged me $40 and wrote $50 on the claim form. Guess who got the extra $10? ;-)

rose_michelle said...

Wow sounds like it would be cheaper to trot the whole gang to Trinidad and that includes the cost of travel. agree with Ameratis, we are lucky becasue my husband is in the Army. Granted it is a high cost in other areas, especially in today's situations, but we do not have to pay for care. It is one laod off my mind ... now if I could include pets as children. Glad you feel a little better.

barefoot_mistress said...

Often when you get sick in India, the hotel you are staying in will post a boy outside the door (post a boy! that sounds like fun!) and he will stay there all day and all night, making sure you are ok. He will run to the chemist, get you water, clean your bathroom, bring you water and fresh food. The hotel will not charge you extra for this.
It would be a lot more work if they had to remove your dead body from the room and clean up the mess from dysentery...ok enough I know!

Anyway, and then, you can get whatever meds you need sooo cheaply....no prescritions. However, I have never been to a doctor in India, so I can't speak about that...


Mr Ratburns last ear infection costs us....oh..about 450.00.....can you believe that?

Hope you are all feeling better soon!

jillie said...

Lime...I could go on for days as to how messed up the system is! I can't believe that they wouldn't have at least given you a discount or find SOME samples to give you. That's a bunch of horse shit if you ask me. But as you say...they are your kids and you want them well. Good luck with the limelets and I hope you're all feeling better soon.

Ahh...I remember the days long ago when Dr.'s actually practiced medicine and weren't so dictated by the system. We'll never see those days again I am sad to say.

Well...I had better shut up now because I could go on and on and on...TRUST ME!!!
;o)

cindra said...

Great post. I got to be charged $125 last month when I was scheduled to have a root canal and told within minutes it couldn't happen because of my cracked tooth. The enodontist showed me all of his photography from Africa and took up MY time and still charged me. Harumph!

Hypersonic said...

Oh thos epoor overworked, underpaid doctors.

Apple said...

Since you have kids you may not being willing to do this but I actually shopped for a doctor. I have also found it can make a huge difference when I tell them that I have no insurance, my gyn dropped his price 40% much to the shock of his staff.

If I need a test I shop around for price and then have my doctor make the referral. When my daughter needed a colonoscopy they agreed to accept what they'd get from medicare, a savings of several hundred dollars.

When given a script I come home first and call every pharmacy until I find the cheapest, again not having insurance can make a difference in price - "Oh, no insurance? Let us sign you up for our free discount plan." Lucky for us we don't have to go very often.

If you are going to stay with your current doctor I would call the business manager while everyone is well, and see if you can make a deal.

bsoholic said...

Yeah, I too blame the insurance industry. Bastards.

Awesome about the Trini doctor only charging once for an illness. I wonder how that works for an illness that stays around for a long time and would require multiple doctor visits?

RennyBA said...

You ought to come to Norway as it is much cheaper to get sick! Well, on the other hand; everything else might be more expensive, so maybe you'll better stay:-)
Get well - all of you - soon!

Phain said...

a weeks worth of groceries gone down the tube all for a trip to the doctor - ooof. reminds me when pixie #1 was a pixilet on formula and we would equate every expense to the cost of a can of formula. "well, we *could* go to the movies, but that would cost us 2 cans of formula."

M said...

I work in medical billing and I can safely say it is extortion.

Also, I think the people making the biggest profits are making the political waters muddy enough that nothing is getting fixed.

I don't know what the answer is because I think if the government gets involved and we have nationalized health, then we will have a bureacratic mess. However, the free market doesn't seem to work because then consumers are ripped off without any recourse.

I guess the answer is *don't get sick?*

Gary said...

Whatever happened to the doctors who would just take a chicken or two in payment?

Jocelyn said...

Can't comment much. Packing up household and moving to Trinidad.

MONA said...

& I remember paying $150 for office visit in LA...
Anyway, glad to hear you are getting well enough to be argumentative.
& I paid $ 75 for a leapord print bikini set at Victoria's Secret...

Margie Blystone said...

Sounds like we ALL need a damn good dose of warmth Lime.... Hmmmm, I'm thinking a trip to Trinidad sounds nice!

airplanejayne said...

I agreee with Apple above....negotiate!
Also...if your doctor charged for three separate office visits - and all three were done on at same time in the same room -- then he has FALSELY billed you. If you call his office and bring this to their attention (and that you may have to call the State licensing board) I'm sure they will be willing to work with you.

:)

Anonymous said...

If you have a Walmart, they only charge $4 for any generic prescription. Of course, on the doctor's visit, it never hurts to beg and plea. I was at the clinic Friday and a young lady came in with her 4 little children - all sick.
~Lolly

Moosekahl said...

First, I just want to say I'm happy you got to see a PA. Second, I know they charge a shit load for what we do and it all boils down to the fact that the insurance company is scamming the hospital by choosing what should be reimbursed so the hospital passes it on to it's patient's. Don't we have just a wonderful health care "system"? We could look across the pond for some better examples :)