Not seen Sicko but I've had plenty of go-arounds with insurance companies and doctors. Especially Champus, anyone remember them? Back in the military days.
My daughter cost around $60 grand. She was a preemie. Thank God we had insurance and I paid around $3 grand outta pocket. I think I finally got her medical bills paid off in 1999. She was born in 1988. They kept "finding" things that hadn't been taken care of. Talk about a stack of paperwork! I could have wallpapered a 5,000 sq ft house with all the civilian hospital forms. The military hospital didn't have a preemie unit.
Then, when she was about 14, she had an ingrown toenail. Her daddy had bailed years prior, though the state caught up with him on the job and made him enroll his daughter into his medical plan. Just so happens, he was recently fired and the coverage had just expired. Without any choice, I called a toe doc, knowing that she didn't have any current insurance (and even if I tried to get her some it wouldn't take affect, pre-existing conditions, deductible, blah blah) and I just wanted to make an appointment for her toe. This is how it went:
"Does she have any insurance?"
"I'm sorry, the doc only sees insured patients due to the risk of high medical costs."
I was referred by one of his patients and I'd like to talk to him about treating my daughter.
"I'm sorry, the doc is unavailable right now, but I'll take a message for him."
Okay, great, but first let me ask a question. Worst case scenario: What's the cost for toe removal?
"I'm sorry, did you say toe removal?"
Yes, it's just an ingrown toenail, but yall are worried about risk, & depending on how BAD off the toe is, removal is the next step right?
"Well, yes, uh, hold on. (Muzak) Okay the fee might be around $2,000, worst case."
Okay, how's cash sound? I mean, I can remove the toe myself, but the authorities may arrest me for child abuse. She can't wear a shoe now, & flip-flops are not an option. So what do you say? Tell the doc I have cash and I'll bring it down there for him to look at if he'll take a look at my daughter's toe.
She put me on hold: More Muzak.
She came back and said that my offer wasn't necessary and kindly gave me an appointment. I took my daughter, the doc spent a few minutes on her toe, and voila! All better, toe intact.
$400 with insurance or $200 cash. I was upset. Not because of the price, but because if I'd had insurance I would have had to pay the $400 due to deductible. So I put the Why's to him. His answer? "Because insurance companies only pay a small portion of the bills and he must write the rest off."
[This message has been edited by rwood (07-26-2007 07:53 AM).]