i start out this post by stating that i know i am lucky. i have health insurance. we are two freelancers who pay directly for our insurance and i have very good health insurance that we pay through the nose to keep – skyrocketing premiums and now-$50 co-pays (damn that perpetually screwed-up by taxol toenail that now requires podiatrist visits every 5 weeks) and i am even on a separate policy from my husband and teenage daughter with the understanding that under all circumstances, i keep my doctors who have cared for me for the past 6 years. ok….all that said…i am about to make a big change and it ain’t easy.
my radiologist is, and always has been, out of network. it wasn’t such a big deal 6 years ago when my deductible was low and we were always covered for almost 90% of the cost. she came exceptionally highly recommended by my surgeon and it couldn’t have been a better match. compassionate and kind … a small practice where i was always greeted by my doctor with a hug and lots of chatter and where my films (now digital) were not only viewed before i left the office so i knew where i stood – but she brought me into the room immediately and reviewed them with me. as my deductible went up, she really worked to adjust her price so that we had less financial outlay but last year it became apparent that even if we paid the minimum (and she actually offered to do it for the price it costs her to use the machine – but still that’s almost $700 cash we’ll never see again) it was all out-of-pocket.
so with enormous trepidation, i decided to switch to an in-network radiologist. i switched my mri to dec. 23rd and went through the forms and talking with new people – new people mean you get the great joy (not) of telling them the ‘whole story’ – a sort of ‘oh great, let me remember all the hell from the past’ conversation just to bring them up to speed AND you know you’ll have to do that at least two more times before the process is complete. before, they were part of the whole story so no discussion necessary…just chatter about what’s new on the horizon. new nurses; new doctor; allllllllllllll the new forms. but the hardest part was when the doctor called me and offered to do it at cost and i had to stammer that even at cost (above-mentioned $650) we had to decline because of the bigger picture. under sad circumstances i had a chance to say directly to her how much i love her and how i really believe i wouldn’t have gotten through the last six years without her. it’s not so cut and dry. all the doctors and nurses and technicians…my most vivid memories are of her wrapping her arms around me and telling me i would be ok and she would stand by me. and she did.
i made a good decision for my family. every penny counts right now. i made a bad decision for my heart.