Tuesday, June 17, 2008

You mean dollars?

Holy fucking four hundred and sixteen dollars, Batman!

I just couldn't even believe it when the receptionist gave me the grand total. She had to say it three times while I stood there with my mouth open, uncomprehending. Finally, I snatched my debit card away and rooted around in my purse for a credit card and stood there with my heart beating "$416, $416, $416, $416" while she typed everything in.

Then the nurse kept asking if Big Kid got to go do something special now...Um yeah, he gets to go to Super Target and pick up a pack of diapers for his brother, and I might even let him rub my back while I cry. He was going to get a Happy Meal until you bastards stole all of my money.

Damn, damn, damn. I adore my doctor and agree that she works HARD, worked her ass off to get that higher education and paid dearly for it I'm sure. She puts her baby in daycare so she can take care of people daily. I want her to make lots and lots of money...but $416 for 30 minutes and three shots?? Ugggggh.

The good news is that Big Kid adored her and the nurse, and handled his shots like a champ. The bad news is that I feel like I'm going to puke every time the figure 416 creeps into my mind.

30 comments:

Tammy said...

Holy Shit, that is a lot of money! I'm always dumbfounded by how much our bills for doctor appointments are- I swear it is robbery in a way (that and prescriptions- seriously)

Glad BK did well and wasn't too scarred by the shots. My LK is going soon and gets 5 shots for kindy--scary thought.

Shannie said...

Holy shit, batman is RIGHT. Oh.my.god. That really, really, really sucks. Big nasties. I'm standing here with mouth agape for you.

Life, Love & Lola said...

HOLY SHIT!! Take some deep breaths and pour yourself a glass of wine or 4!

Mitch said...

Bejesus that's a lot of money. Its those shots that racked it up. Have you checked into Florida Kid Care? Its health insurance for kids provided through the state, but its not medicare, just really cheap (as low as $20/month). There are income requirements, but it may be something worth checking out. I know that my kids not having health insurance really freaks me out.

http://www.floridakidcare.org/index.html

Mama's Losin' It said...

Freaking A.

How many bracelets do we need to sell to make up for that??

Misty said...

Holy Shit!! That's all I can say... I am over here wanting to cry for you!!

Lauren said...

I think I would have grabbed my debit card and ran dragging big kid behind me.

Marie said...

I live in Texas and we have a program for children with no medical coverage and it is based on your income maybe you can check and see if they have anything? I hate that medical insurance is so high and that doctors fees are so high as well.

jenn said...

Totally sucks. We recently went from an HMO to a pay-everything-up-front-until-you-hit-a-godawful-deductible plan, so I feel your pain. I had no idea how much dr. visits cost, and I HATE that I have to stand around and ponder whether or not to take my sick kid in for a look-see.

TAKE NOTE OBAMA: Please fix this ASAP.

Anonymous said...

Did you ask for a discount? What if you paid in cash? Can you go to the county health department at least for the shot portion?

Me said...

I was afraid of that. No mercy for the uninsured.

Rat bastards.

All the kids who went to college on grants voted in by the dems end up doing well only to convert to republican once they start making the big money and screw us all.

But I'm sure she's nice.

Ashley said...

I didn't know about the health department until I got back, unfortunately. Also, I didn't have the cash. Anywhere, at all.

I was too shocked/embarrassed to ask for a discount, although I did have the doctor fill out paperwork to help me try to get my medicine for free, and she totally commiserated with me on the job loss. I guess that compassion didn't relay over to the billing portion of our appointment, lol.

From now on, I will be calling and asking for an approximate cost on everything before I go. I was not aware of this particular annoyance of poverty.

jennyandcompany said...

oh you poor thing - i hate that self-pay people have to suffer b/c of greedy insurance and drug companies (the only reason they charge so much is to try and still make a buck when the insurance companies only pay half!). Sometimes all you have to do is ask for a discount and they will cut your bill significantly since you are paying cash and they get their money right away instead of jumping through hoops.

also check into your state's CHIP program, it really is a lifesaver, and the income limits are pretty high. it pays for meds, er visits, dr visits, hospitalization, dentists, and pretty much anything else you can think of. a lot of dr's won't take it here though, but they did just add a new thing where you pay $50 per family no matter how many kids, and it buys the same ppo plan that state employees get for your kids, where you can see any dr with a copay.

I know a lot of people don't want anything to do with "public assistance", but our kids' health is important, and I won't let a lack of money keep us from taking Tyler to the ER, which would have happened more than once, and he may not have made it until Monday to see the pedi.

jennyandcompany said...

oh, almost forgot - if you do look into CHIP, you can usually get reimbursed for expenses up to 3 months back, you keep your bill and receipt.

Rebecca said...

Dang... Should I send you another $1??

Melodie said...

That really SUCKS, Ashley! I'm SO, SO sorry I didn't mention the thing about the shots before. You probably don't want to know that you could have gotten the school physical part for about $30 at a Doctor's Walk-In Clinic, either, do you? I had to do that for my two oldest when I registered them for kindergarten because they weren't due for their annual, insurance-covered physicals until July and August, and I didn't want to wait until the last minute to register them for school.
And you really should check with your doctor to see if she has a private pay option. A lot of doctors do have a lower price for their patients with no health insurance because they know you can't afford the big rates they have to charge the insurance companies. I've worked for doctors in the past, and the difference between what the exam charge is and the amount the doctor actually gets paid (between copay and insurance reimbursement) is shocking, to say the least. Even if your doctor doesn't have a private pay rate, maybe you could ask her to make a special deal with you based on what she would have actually gotten paid if you still did have your insurance.

Me said...

In case you haven't found this yet (from jennyandcompany recommendation):

http://www.doh.state.fl.us/AlternateSites/KidCare/eligibility.html

Blanda Amania said...

Yow! I hope you find ways to get medical care cheaper for you guys while you're going through this rough spot. We have "Public Health" here for that, who isn't great, but the for a few hours wait, you get care and vaxes for free. That's A LOT of freaking money. I'd cry too.

Catfish said...

WHAT?!?! Even when I didn't have insurance (I did but the doctor I "had" to go to wasn't covered) and I went to the GYN it wasn't that expensive!! Usually $100ish...That's retarded! Another form of birth control, thanks.

Outnumbered2to1 said...

I have totally had the stomach drop experience when you get a bill that you think there is no way you can pay. I am so sorry. Good luck.

Ami said...

OMG! That is outrageous! I agree with others that you should check into county health agencies. We have friends who had twins in October. Both parents are teachers... she quit to be home, and he quit his job in before the babies were born, to look for something better. He never found anything. He's working a couple of little part-time jobs, with a teaching position lined up for the fall.

They paid for COBRA for her through the birth of the babies, but have had no insurance since. They tried to get in one of the state run insurance programs for the kids, but they had income requirements that were based on the previous year's income - so nothing available. Anyway, they take the babies to walk-in clinics for shots and such, and the most they've ever paid for an exam and shots is $25 each.

Again, I'm sorry you're going through all of this. It sucks!

Lipstick said...

Totally agree with Melodie in the comment above...

For example- let's say that Ins Co A is willing to pay $250 for a given service and Ins Co B is willing to pay $350 for the same exact service.

If the doctor only bills $250 to either insurance co, then she has just lost $100 in potential reimbursement from Ins Co B (because they will reimburse the doc UP TO $350 for the service).

Bottom line: the amount of money that the doc submits for billing must exceed ALL possible insurance reimbursement rates to avoid losing money.

Make sure you ask for a discount. Negotiate. Even tell them what you are willing to pay and ask if it is acceptable.

Here's some sage advice from my FIL: never take "no" from someone who does not have the authority to say "yes"

Miz said...

in the future check with your local health department about the kids' immunizations--often they are free or very low cost (and no income guidelines)--at least that's the way it is here in my southern Ohio county. I'm guessing the cost of the shots was the bulk of your bill.
mzliz

Mamalicious said...

Whathufuck? That is a bunch of shyt.

I'm sorry :o(
Holly

Joy said...

Yea I found out that it never hurts to ask for a discount or help on the bill.

When #2 was born even with insurance we owed a SHIT load of money to the hospital, thanks to a hefty $1000 deductable and they only pay 80%. I filled out some paper work and they wrote all but a couple hundred dollars off. I then paid them like $25/mth!

Tara said...

We went without health insurance for a while. I took her to the county for her shots (they were free) and to the ped for checkups (she was less than a year old). The shots are what is so expensive. I told my ped that hubby was out of work, couldn't afford COBRA and she helped us out. Hopefully y'all will be able to work something out too.

M said...

Ditto, HOLY SHIT!!!

I thought $96 cash was bad for our pediatrician. I'll suck it up and gladly pay it now.

Anonymous said...

I discovered my insurance did not cover immunization after my son was several months old. I called & set up a payment plan with the doctor and then also sent the doctor a personal letter explaining how i was a first time mom and did they feel no obligation to say "FYI, you can get shots for free at the health department"? I felt as my doctor they owed me some guidance & help instead of just letting me rack up close to $1,000 in immunization cost. After I had made several payments I wrote and asked them to reconsider the bill. Since I was faithfully sticking to the payment agreement, they did go ahead & wipe off the remaining $400 or so and called it even.

So yes, immunizations are EXPENSIVE! Doctors do give discounts. And worst case scenario, you can make a payment plan.

queenstella said...

Damn! Did he get Botox??

txchic said...

WTF? Can you call back, speak with someone in billing, ask for the rate for those paying cash (they don't care if it's a credit card, just that they got your $$) and see if they can credit your account? That's absurd!!! Our medical system rips you off!!!