Thursday, December 24, 2015

When the Customer (Your Doctor) Fires You

One of the biggest problems I encountered as Obamacare was being implemented- was a doctor shortage and a surge of customers. I can't prove it but I think a number of doctors saw this coming and started removing cash paying, uninsured people from their patient lists. We just aren't money makers.

Why help patients fill prescriptions for free when millions of newly insured patients are lining up for new patient visits and tests? Including pre-existing conditions! Obamacare was a huge windfall-bonanza for doctors and hospitals.

Cheap cash payers like myself were edged out. Cash paying individuals question the necessity of drugs and tests because we are paying for them. Doctors, clinics, and hospitals don't like that. You are supposed to shut up and do what they say. Patients have simply become a conduit for income.

So in 2013, I received a registered letter from my doctor which stated that she could no longer be my doctor. She blamed me for not using her services which is partially true. My last scheduled 3 minute visit with her cost me 185 bucks. The truth is, I never really liked her much.

It takes me 15 hours, or two shifts, to make enough net money to pay her 185 bucks for 3 of her minutes.

Having been banished from my village, I began the odyssey of trying to find a new doctor and keep my prescriptions filled.

My first appointment ended in a disaster when my new prospective doctor noted  that I was uninsured and then asked me to have my protime checked monthly at a cost of 1200 bucks a year. Since I have never done that in 25 years of taking blood thinners- I balked. When I tried to rearrange a monthly test at my little private lab which would only cost 300 a year- she stated that we weren't a good fit. The good news was- she didn't charge me for the visit.

I noted two things about that visit. Two female doctors and two giant female egos. Both of them acted indignant when I questioned them or offered a cheaper solution to testing. I don't know if it's me- or them- but mulling that over was not going to solve my problem. I decided from that point forward that I would not visit a female doctor again unless I was dying and a female doctor was the last option on the planet.

I searched for an independent doctor- one not affiliated with a giant, money sucking hospital. I found a "doc in the box" who might have worked- but I literally could not get a prescription filled. I would call in, leave messages, go to my pharmacy- it was unreal. It took weeks to get anything done. I went in to the clinic 4 or 5 times to complain in person. It was simply the worst service I have ever been subjected to. I paid in cash every time I went in so it wasn't like I was some deadbeat.

After about 9 months of that- I gave up. I began searching for an independent doctor outside of Boise. I found a guy, perhaps 10 years older than I am, that doesn't appear to have any axes to grind or imposing egos. Everything has been smooth sailing thus far- but his staffing issues are causing me problems. They don't like that I use a private lab to have my blood tested- I can tell that. They charge about 150 bucks and my lab charges 24 bucks. Every time I have any issue whatsoever- his office wants me to make an appointment and come in.

As an interesting note, it was nearly a year later (about 9 months ago) when the "doc in the box" finally discovered that I wasn't coming in and fired me. That it took them nearly a year or so to send me a Dear John letter was not surprising. In fact, it made perfect sense.

I am currently on my fourth doctor in 4 years. I've paid my Obamacare penalty last year. This year I have had nearly 10k in medical and dental expenses and I qualify for any number of exceptions to paying the penalty. (This is really worth looking into) I absolutely refuse to line the pockets of predatory insurers and a complicit government pissing down my back and telling me they are just trying to warm me up.