Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Doctors and insurance companies .......

I took my Dad to our family doctor today. The purpose of the visit was to have the wax cleaned from his ears and to have a small skin cancer burned off his cheek. We were at the office for 2 1/2 hours. We were in the waiting room for one hour, before being taken back to an examination room where we sat for almost an hour and a half. We ended up seeing the doctor for a total of 5 minutes and the nurse for 5 minutes.

Now, I know from experience that a visit to the doctor requires patience. My Dad, lost his patience several years ago. He started asking what time it was after only fifteen minutes. Each request for the time became a bit louder - just in case they didn't hear him the last time. Then he announced every few minutes that they certainly were slow. Into the second hour of waiting, he decided that everyone must have gone to lunch or maybe they were having a picnic somewhere.

At one point he became convinced that they had forgotten we were waiting in the room, and he wanted me to go out and tell them that we were there. Finally he had enough of waiting and he wanted to go home. Well, I wasn't about to leave after waiting all that time, so he had to tough it out.

Eventually we did get to see the doctor and got his ears cleaned out so he can hear if you yell loud enough and got the skin cancer burned off his cheek. He's back home now, in his recliner taking a nap.

I know that the doctors and nurses are doing all they can to get to everyone as fast as possible, but that is a long wait especially for someone who does not feel well. When I was working, we had to have a written excuse from a doctor if we took a sick day. If I felt too sick to go to work, I was too sick to go to the doctor. That meant that once I felt better, I had to take another day off in order to get my written excuse.

Insurance companies - now they are a real pain to deal with. I went to the drugstore yesterday to get my Dad's prescription for Prevacid refilled. The insurance company declined the claim, saying he had reached his maximum allowed amount of the drug for the year. I had to call the doctor's office and ask them to contact the insurance company to ask for an exception so he could get a refill. Of course this will take some time to go through all the channels. In the meantime, he will run out of medicine. Thank goodness, it's not a medicine that would be dangerous for him to miss for a few days.

I think we need a complete overhaul of the health care system in this country. It gets worse all the time. Even people who have insurance, have a hard time getting anything covered.


Later - an update .........
The doctor's office just called me. The insurance company will not cover my Dad's prescription. They suggested I get him Prilosec OTC. Of course they suggest that - it's over the counter and they won't have to cover it.

9 comments:

Dave said...

I agree with you, SVB. I could never be labelled a socialist but if there is one thing this country needs it is a social health system funded, or partly funded, like the the UK National Health or any other European country's system. This is the wealthiest country on the planet and supposedly the most advanced and it can easlily afford a well funded health system.

Dave said...

One more thing, SVB. Have you thought of looking at online pharmacy websites to see if you can pick up your Dad's script cheaper than it would be here? One that I know of is assetchemist.co.uk
Also, is there a generic out there that can do the job? Walmart & Target do the $4 generics.

Sweet Virginia Breeze said...

tedlaboDave,
I can get Prilosec OTC at drugstore.com for $81.00 for 63 days supply. I was paying a copay of $94.71 for a 60 day supply of the Prevacid, which had a cost of $631.30. I'm going to try the Prilosec OTC and just watch him carefully for any sign of excess stomach acid.
I love Walmart and Target's $4.00 prescriptions. They deserve credit for trying to help their customers rather than take advantage of them.

Sweet Virginia Breeze said...

Oops-
just delete that tedlabo
Mary

Joan said...

I absolutely agree that our health care system needs a complete overhaul. I'm lucky because our healthcare insurance is covered by our retirement plans (at least for now). My mom, however, relies on Medicare and don't even get me started about that mess. I have a graduate degree and I still have trouble reading and understanding all the intricacies of what's covered and what's not.

Troy said...

The UK "free" health system has its merits but it is so inefficient and more geared for its workers rather than "the customers". Waiting in line, seemingly forever, can be common here too - I take a book or newspaper - but your father's wait was certainly excessive.
I need my ears dewaxed but keep putting off going (I hate it!).

Carla said...

I haven't been able to afford health insurance for the past 9 years. Still...I do pay all my medical bills in full and on time. Yet, doctors often treat me like a second class citizen. When I tell them I'm uninsured, some of them make it clear they don't want my business.

Kathy said...

I think the doctor shouldn't double-book! I wait for 45 minutes tops and then I leave. I know you probably couldn't have done that with your dad. I think he was right to complain. My insurance company wouldn't cover Prevacid, either. I buy either Zantac or Prilosec. The Prolosec is more expensive, but frankly seems to work a lot better.
Thanks for stopping by my blog! I look forward to hearing from you again as we both begin our gardening!

Debi Kelly Van Cleave said...

We certainly do need an overhaul of the system and if it means I'm a socialist because I want everyone in America to have good health care, then so be it. My poor parents are suffering just like your dad. I can't afford health insurance for myself or my daughter. What makes me really mad is I pay higher prices because I'm not insured. Doesn't seem fair.

No, the health care system in England is not perfect but people are not dying like they are here because they can't afford treatment.

I'm sorry but that doctor was disrespectful. And you are right, that if you're sick, you're too sick to go to the doctor's. Especially with waits like that!

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