Yesterday’s run was horrible. After two miles, my legs felt weak and I began to dream of food. I bonked. So today, I’m taking it easy with a new kind of workout. Only this workout evolved into the most painful thing I’ve ever experienced.
(Warning: this is not an inspirational story of my athletic prowess; just a rant against our broken healthcare system.)
My son goes to the doctor for an annual physical. My health insurance policy states that all preventative care, such as annual physicals, are fully covered. Two months later, I get the bill. What, a bill? How is this “fully covered?”
A quick call to my health insurance company reveals that the medical group has coded the routine test incorrectly and instructs me to call the medical group for a correction and re-submission. I’ve done this before (with a different medical group) and it’s not a big deal — it just works itself out.
I call the “Have a Question” number on my bill and speak to the medical group’s billing department. It’s a good number to call with a question, but a bad number to call for an answer. They don’t have an answer, just a powerless person who tells me to call someone else. So, I call someone else and find another powerless person. After two hours, I learn that I too am powerless.
In a vain attempt to regain my manhood, I post on Yelp. Like magic, I find a semblance of power. Almost immediately, I am connected to a billing specialist. Perhaps the “Have a Question” number should be replaced by Social Media posting instructions.
Finally, I speak to someone with power. Actually, she only has the power to tell me that the HIPPA laws don’t allow them to discuss the test on my bill with me. So, I have a bill written in some foreign medical language, a billing specialist who is forbidden by law to translate it, and I’m still expected to pay it.
I wonder what I just bought. I feel like I’m on “Let’s Make a Deal” and just purchased something hidden behind one of the three giant doors. It could be a cool new bike, a vacation to Hawaii, or a giant tricycle with a clown sitting on top. But, I’ll never know because the law doesn’t allow anyone to open the door.
The good news is that I didn’t need to work out today. I just spent over two hours working out in my target heart rate zone sprinkled with a few sprints near my max heart rate. Fortunately, I’m a well trained endurance athlete who can go for hours so long as I don’t go anaerobic.
Thanks for listening. I feel better now.