My allergy doctor told me I have a bucket that holds all of my medical challenges. With CF, he said, my bucket is close to full every day. And, it doesn’t take much or even something physical to cause it to overflow.
Medical bills make my bucket blow like a Vegas water show.
I feel embarrassed that I drain the system to the tune of four hospitalizations a year and a potpourri of inhaled and oral meds. It hurts to look at the bills. A panic attack can start just by pulling an inch-thick stack of them from the mailbox. They are reminders of my greatest fear of not having insurance and knowing what I might have to do at that point.
Luckily, I married above my pay grade and my wife deals with them.
But that upsets me, too – the time she spends navigating the maze, making sure we don’t overpay, pay twice, or just plain get screwed. It’s shocking how incorrect the bills are. She has an MBA and an honorary degree in detective work, yet it still takes numerous phone calls to tie the numbers together and figure out what we owe. It also doesn’t help that some bills arrive a year after the service.
What do people without her expertise do? I bet they pay what they don’t owe.
Sometimes, collection agencies harass us for payment while the insurance company and service provider debate who who is at fault for non-payment, each telling my wife to call the other party to resolve the situation. Her phone conversations sound like a lawyer’s, documenting the name of the person, time of the call, and what was said.
It’s amazing in this age of technology that these problems still exist. It’s not the government who needs to run our healthcare system, it’s Google. Now that’s a company with the communication intelligence to fix the billing errors that take place between the patient, insurance company and medical provider.
I’m not complaining. I’m lucky to have insurance. I just wish it didn’t have to be a game of Stratego every time we open a stack of bills. That’s the part of CF I didn’t anticipate when I was younger – the stress and battle of medical insurance. It’s Stratego come to life with healthcare on one side and my wife and I on the other. Luckily, my wife plays a hell of a game. But it’s a shame it’s not a more friendly game like Candy Land, which doesn’t require a Xanax to play.