Sunday, October 22, 2006

Money, money, money (again)

Last month my doctor thought I had a heart attack. Seriously. He sent me to the cardiologist and everything. Never mind that PKD has some heart anomalies associated with it, never mind that my ECG was borderline normal, he wanted me in there right away.

My cardiologist was completely clueless about PKD, looking particularly blank when I mentioned Mitral Valve Prolapse. You know, something that affects 25% of people with PKD. He had no idea what I was talking about, and just nodded sagely while looking at my chart. I knew that look--it was a look I wore many times as an intern at the George Washington University Hospital, trying to make sense of the medical hieroglyphics in any given chart while my superviser looked at me knowingly. Basically, I know clueless when I see it.

But my cardiologist wanted to be thorough, so he ordered a chest X-ray and a stress test. All of these things were fine, which was a relief.

Until the bill came.

These things, I've discovered, are not fully covered by my insurance. I'm not totally sure how they calculated what I owe for these, in my opinion, rather routine tests, and frankly, it makes me nervous. I was under the impression that we had no deductible, or anything like that. I just assumed full coverage for everything, especially since our co-pay is rather high. But you know what they say about those who assume....

The money isn't all that much--about 150 bucks, when all is said and done. But, like I said, this makes me nervous. My medical journey has but barely begun, and I have to fork over cash for stuff like an ECG? What happens when I have to get tests that most people have never heard of? What about all of the medications I will have to take once my kidneys start to fail? And, of course, what of the transplant that forever looms, a spectre of the future?

Forget the college fund for my kid. I'll probably be better off starting a kidney fund for him, because clearly, people aren't willing to pay for PKD.

5 comments:

Becky said...

I (also have PKD)have some of the same concerns...except I have NO insurance. Sigh. Praying for you! (My mom has PKD and is about to start dialysis.)

Heather O. said...

Wow, Becky, that's a little scary. No insurance? Are you self employed, or something? I can't imagine facing PKD with no insurance.

Susan said...

I admire your honesty and energy, girl.

Anonymous said...

Actually, that is the problem for anyone with a chronic disease. I have lupus and I am terrified to come back to the U.S. and have to deal with even getting insurance and then trying to get the care I need with the frequent blood tests. . .
We really, really need to change the way the insurance system works in our country or develop companies to help insure the people who have chronic diseases. These companies could have incentives for those who develop good exercise and eating habits.... etc.

Juniper said...

One of the reasons I get so frustrated with the doctors who want you to see this specialist and that specialist when YOU know that no one is going to tell you anything new or even remotely useful. The bills I get don't exactly help with my hypertension.