The Best Health Care in the World

Keep in mind that I have the best insurance possible in our system, a fact for which I am grateful every single day. This is a conversation that took place in my doctor’s office at 6:15 this morning:

“You have a balance here of X dollars.”

“I sent in a check for that. You sent the bill to my house.”

“Do you have a copy of it?”

“The check?”

“The bill.”

“No. I don’t generally drag my household files around in my purse.”

“Do you know when you sent the check in?”

“Not off the top of my head.”

“Do you have your checkbook with you?”

“No.”

*puzzled look*

“I didn’t think I needed it.”

“Would you like to pay the balance now?”

“I sent a check in so that I wouldn’t have to pay it here.”

“Yes, but we’re not showing we received it, so …”

“So I should pay the same bill twice and trust you to mark it as a credit when the check does finally show up?”

“Well …”

“I know this isn’t your fault and I don’t mean to be bitchy, but: Last month I paid the balance here and then got a bill in the mail, so this month I paid the bill in the mail and now I have a balance here. Something is clearly not working right and I don’t know what it is, and quite frankly I doubt I could solve it if I did. It sounds like the computer that sends out your bills and the computer that prints out the bills that you give me when I show up here need to maybe go to counseling or something. Whatever. The point is that as usual by this point in the paycheck waiting period, I won’t have any money to give you until I get paid on Friday. On Friday, you will get your money if it doesn’t arrive by then. Now that I’ve had to explain that in front of an entire office full of people presumably judging me as a cheapskate or at least as a pain in the ass, can you understand why I’d prefer you just send the bills to my house and I’ll pay them there without the scrutiny of a dozen strangers and you looking at me like I’m a very naughty child doing this on purpose to make your life difficult?”

“Yes.”

“Cool. Can you do the blood draw from my hand? The bruises don’t show as easily there. Last month when you kept using my arm my co-workers suspected me of IV drug use.”

A.

9 thoughts on “The Best Health Care in the World

  1. pansypoo says:

    as an indigent, my milwaukee SOCIALIZED MEDICINE was taken away by our cheapskate REPUBLIKKKLAN bastard and shifted over to the state new socialized badgercare. i had t see a primary within 2 years and i finally went. did a big work up. did the starve blood test, need a fucking boob squish. BUT, i now know my cholesterol # and i am NOT diabetic. and the letter said i am normal. as if.

  2. pansypoo says:

    did i mention no bill shit?

  3. Aitch says:

    Well, now I have a better understanding of why you have migraines…

  4. wolfetone says:

    Of course you’re not a junkie, Athenae . . .

  5. hoppy says:

    It just breaks my heart to know that if the evil Democrats get their way you will lose these interesting waiting room conversations. Oh,, the inhumanity.

  6. virgotex says:

    “the paycheck waiting period” – you have one of those too, huh?

  7. MapleStreet says:

    Should I mention the case of the person hounded by warnings by a collection agency to pay their bill of zero dollars and zero cents?
    On one hand, I empathize with the billing department. They have to pick the right code (from the roulette wheel?). They then have to deal with confusing insurance gobbledy gook (from each different insurance company) and try to figure out what happened.
    OTOH, I left one doctor because his billing staff badgered me that the problem was that I didn’t let the doctor know a certain detail; i finally took in a copy of the form which the doctor signed, and they threw me out. Needless to say, that doc isn’t on my nice list.

  8. MapleStreet says:

    Should have added:
    Considering the massive amounts of time both patients and office staff spend contacting the insurance company (mandatory or the company won’t pay) and then contacting them to straighten up details,
    I wonder how much a single payer system would save us just from the reduced waste of office staff time?

  9. Sandman says:

    MapleStreet: http://www.pnhp.org says that a single-payer system would save $400 billion a year in billing and administration costs, more than enough to pay for covering every American.

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