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Never In A Million Years…

I just can’t believe this happened to me…

I spent today waiting for a phone call that never came.  Yesterday, my doctor told me that someone named Elaine from her practice would be calling me today to set up my D&C.  Elaine is the surgical coordinator, and my doctor assured me that she’d take care of everything…everything from scheduling my procedure to coordinating the paperwork and billing with my insurance company.  All I’d have to do was answer the phone and provide my desired surgery date.  I kept my cell phone close by, certain that the one second I’d leave it behind for a meeting, go to the ladies’ room, or grab a printout off the FAX machine across our office would be the moment she called.  I was still riding the wave of my “bring it” courage, convinced that the sooner we got this show on the road, the sooner we could move forward.  I was actually looking forward to her call…that never came.  When 2:00 came and went without hearing from Elaine, I called and left her a message.  Not long thereafter, I received a phone call from someone named Beth, the insurance and benefits coordinator for my doctor’s practice.  Beth notified me that she’d already contacted my insurance provider, who confirmed to her that my family and I had not yet met our 2011 calendar year deductible.  As such, I’d have to pay the practice the entire deductible (which is sky-high, let me add), before they’d even entertain scheduling my procedure.  I was shocked and heartsick…and just couldn’t believe it.  How is it that someone like me…someone who had worked hard in college and graduate school, and who had worked continuously since graduating from college…and who had PAID FOR INSURANCE for nearly twenty years…could potentially be denied a necessary medical procedure?  I just couldn’t believe it.  I felt like a once-beautiful and shiny balloon, filled with strength and ready to be set free to float in the sky, only to have been pricked by dangerously sharp blade and reduced to a heap of discarded rubber on the floor.  All my courage to move forward right away, shot.  I just couldn’t believe it.  My mind raced…how would I get all this money at one time?  Would we be able to afford it?  How much money did we have in our 2010 flexible healthcare spending account?  I didn’t want to dip in to our Europe savings to do this.  We are saving for a family trip to Europe and our daughter is so, so excited.  I couldn’t do that…couldn’t endanger our ability to take this trip and deliver on our promise to show her the world.  How was it possible that I was being punished for having a healthy family…one who hadn’t, IN MARCH, met their high annual deductible?  Was I expected to wait until we had amassed enough medical indebtedness to meet this deductible to schedule this surgery?  After numerous calls to our insurance company and to Beth, the money was found and the situation, resolved.  But the overwhelming feeling left within me still remains.  How is it fair that someone like me…someone who has been a contributing member of society, has worked her entire life, and has carried insurance and done everything right…could potentially be denied surgery that might save her life?  Because of the economic downturn?  Really?  Someone else’s selfishness and greed caused a situation for which I might potentially pay…with my life? At this point, we’ve got two options.  Either (a) we find out that I don’t have cancer and we all go on with our lives, blissfully happy and joyous and grateful…or (b) we find out that I do have cancer, hold on to one another a little bit tighter, and move forward in our fight.  But the situation I was placed in today nearly rendered me unable to go in either direction.  Rather, I could quite possibly have been frozen in place, prevented from moving on with my life and stuck in a rut of fear and worry and uncertainty.  All this bravery and “stepping in to the light” and strength-gathering and abandonment of my fears left behind…and all for nothing.  Never in a million years did it ever occur to me that it might be ME that would be denied health care, and the concept shook me and broke my heart wide open and scared me.  I am beyond grateful that the situation has been resolved and that we will be moving forward (Beth assured me that Elaine would be calling me tomorrow), but the enormity of what happened stays with  me.  I am blessed to have the means to afford this and the insurance to pay for the remaining balance, but what if we didn’t have this money outright?  Too bad, Jennifer?  We realize that you could potentially have cancer and that you’re scared to death, oh, and that your family and friends are worried as well.  But too bad!  Oh, your cancer grew and spread in the time it took you to nail down the amount of your deductible?  That’s too bad!

Pitiful.

Comments

  1. Oh dear Jen, words can not express how sorry I am that you are having to go through this! As someone who has went through cervical cancer and battles with insurance, please know that I am always here for you! Please, please get ahold of me if you ever need to talk, vent, cry etc. I will keep you in my prayers dear friend!

  2. Jennifer, I’m very sorry to hear of your health and insurance woes. We had a high deductible plan for a few years and I found it very scary. It was a fine tax savings unless but if we had ever had to use it. . . scary. Praying for you.

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