To Dr. or Not to Dr.

I am not a doctor person.  I have never in my life had a doctor’s name or number in my address book or phone.

I have only a couple of times in my adult life sought out medical care.  I  have had a total of two mammograms in my life.  I have had maybe three pelvic exams.  My first as a teenager was because I had been raped and during the exam the doctor got an erection.  That ended my ever going to gynecologist again.   The other two in my life have been by a general physician.

I did seek out a doctor when I was 25, about six months after my mom died and I was having these painful outbreaks on my legs that looked like ulcers.  The doctor said well I’m going to need to biopsy this and before I knew what he was doing he took a big chuck out of my shin.   I was pissed, hurt and then he put a very painful stitch in and I walked back to work.

I didn’t make an appointment for the follow-up.  The office did call me and tell me I had erythema nodosum, he prescribed a steroid for me to take, which I never picked up.  It cleared up on its own when I stopped sustaining my depressed self on ice cream.

The next time I went to a doctor was in my 40’s.  I got my first mammogram and mostly due to peer pressure to go.  When I was laid off from my corporate gig in 2010 I went again while I had insurance, had the second mammogram and a physical.

There you go, you all now have my medical history.  I am not bragging.  I also know how fortunate I am that I do not suffer from some of the things my family and friends suffer from.

I do not remember going to the doctor as a kid either, like on a regular basis.  I went when I fell off the porch and sprained my ankle on my 7th birthday and I went when Della and I poisoned the whole neighborhood with golden chain.  I also remember getting vaccinations in the gym in grade school because I wasn’t up to date.

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So let’s get back to current day.  More peer pressure to make appointments.

I spent a couple of weeks looking at doctor reviews and proximity to my house.  I registered my insurance card that has been in my wallet since going to my current job two and a half years ago.  I registered on the Health portal and tried to make an appointment.

Seems they don’t make new patient appointments on there because, well they want your insurance information.

So I resorted to the phone, I called, wait time 23 minutes.  There was an option to punch in my phone number for a call back.  I did that.  It was about two days later that I realized I hadn’t heard from them.

This morning I got a call from one of these peers doing the pressuring to remind me to call.  So I made that call again.  Wait time 23 minutes.  Another option to punch in my phone number for a call back.  I did that again.  This time I got a call back.  Gave up all of my information again (same stuff I registered with on-line).  Got down to making the appointment and the doctor I had settled on, she is not taking new patients.

So I am back to the research stage of this endeavor.  Now for another twist.   Sitting at work and my desk mate came in all bothered.  Seems the doctor he saw recently was not an approved provider, the costs the doctor tried to take out of his flex account was $1600.  He did not have that in there so it just took out everything that was there.

His doctor used to be in plan, now is not, he is understandably upset because he thought the copay was the end of his payments.  The last several hours has been going over the EOB (I had to ask what that was) and trying to figure it all out.  Phone calls are going to be needed on this I think.

So I logged back into the insurance site and the doctor I was trying to get an appointment with this morning, well she isn’t even a preferred provider.  In fact the health care company I wanted to use in general is not.  I have to start over, from an even more “beginning” place then before.  This wasn’t even something I figured into my search.  I get the terms on and off plan, even if I’ve never paid attention to them.

***Please no “you have to see a dr.” comments, I do get it***

5 Responses to “To Dr. or Not to Dr.”

  1. salpal1 Says:

    I have three words for you that would solve a lot of these problems

    Single payer system

    Then you could just worry about finding a doctor with whom you are happy, not worrying about what is covered.

    And if I had the experience you did as a teenager, I likely would not go back either.

    My wife doesn’t go either, though she has insurance which we pay a lot for. She promised she would go for a full exam when she turned 40. It took her until age 42 to actually do it. That was a dozen or more years ago. Good she is healthy!

    But I guess if she (and you) weren’t, you would go, right?

    Good luck finding a doctor, but if you don’t need one NOW, take your time and find the right one.

    • V_Lo Says:

      I’m with A why do I need a Dr. if nothing is wrong. I also pay plenty for my portion of work provided insurance. I never used any of the last three employers insurance that I had.

      Luckily my wife was raised never going to the Dr. either so we think along the same lines.

  2. Katherine Says:

    What a PIA. Insurance is a racket and the bureaucracies of the system are enough to put even the most reasonable person off from seeing the doctor. But you pay for the care, whether you receive it or not, so here are some tips from me. Ask around for recommendations and then go look at the doc’s website to read about them and decide if you’re interested in their care. Call the doctor’s office directly and ask whether they are currently a PP on your plan. If they say no, move on. If they say yes (or they don’t know–which they should but I’ve gotten that before), then call the patient # on the back of your card and ask your ins provider if the doctor is a PP on your plan, and exactly what is covered for the type of visit you seek. Once you settle on a doc and make an appointment, if your appointment ends up being several months out, ask the doc again when you show up to verify that they are on your PP plan. (Usually, if a doc leaves a plan, they notify all of their patients in advance that they’re doing this.) There’s a theme here: I rarely use the insurance web site to find a doc. I don’t find the search experience there good or the info reliable.

    Yes, it’s a bitch that it works this way. As one of the people who would be really worried if you got ill and devastated if something terrible happened to you, thank you for the effort you have to put in to use the care available to you. Love you!

    • V_Lo Says:

      Yes, I am doing the research again. I have no one to ask however for a recommendation. I don’t have many friends and the one I did ask, well their doctor may take the insurance (blue cross) they are not “in network”. The folks at work don’t live anywhere near me for there to be an option. Love you too!


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