Thursday, August 30, 2007

Three-tiered Triumph

I had my first real appointment with my new oncologist today, and I couldn't be more delighted. She is that great combination I always want but can't always find in a doctor: excellent clinician, wonderful person.

I'll only be seeing her three times a year (less often as those years pass), but I'll look forward to the visits. Everyone in her office is kind and friendly and good at what they do. The cozy waiting room looks like it belongs in a boutique hotel. And (drumroll, please) . . . she takes insurance.

I think this is a geographical aberration, but lots of very good doctors in New York City—including several of mine—don't accept insurance. They get paid up front, and they don't have to deal with the hassle and high overhead costs that come with trying to get reimbursed by a third party. The catch, of course, is that you have to be able to shell out their fees—which are typically above the "reasonable and customary" limits that most carriers impose—and wait weeks or months to get reimbursed, often for a percentage that is significantly less than what you paid.

The system isn't fair, but it's hard to fault doctors who want to focus on their patients instead of on accounts receivable. Still, it's a huge relief to know that in this case, I only need to cough up a co-pay.

The second piece of happy news is that my new doctor had received the results from my mammogram and breast sonogram, and they were—and I quote—"perfect." I'm going to have another breast MRI, just to be thorough, but not until January. That way I'll have some kind of breast imaging done every six months, instead of doing all three tests together once a year.

The final piece of good news was waiting in the mail when I got home this evening: an insurance reimbursement check for one thousand two hundred thirteen dollars and sixty-two cents!! I still have more claims pending, but hallelujah!!! (And it looks like my prediction was dead-on: tomorrow I will get the first paycheck for a temp gig I began last week, and it is not even going to come close to matching the payday I had today.)

By my count, that's three more Post-its® on the wall!


Anonymous Julian said...

Amen, Amen and, um, AMEN.

September 2, 2007 4:10 PM  

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