Saturday, January 7, 2017

Chemo Crazy

My Chemo treatment almost didn't happen on Friday , ergo the title of today's post.
At the start of each year we have to pay our deductible and one time family copay before my treatments are 100%  covered. This is usually eaten up in the first month of the year because  of other hospital or doctor's bills.

 The issue we have had for 3 years running with my provider is their credit department wants all that money up  front regardless of whether they should be getting the full amount or bills were already in the pipeline from other providers.

The first year we paid a couple of thousand dollars to my cancer treatment  provider and then had to fight for months to get back the money we overpaid.

So the second  year Vicki told them she would not pay upfront and they should put it through the Insurance first. This way we could pay just what was left for the deductible and the family one time copay of $1000. Vicki and the credit dept fought over this and they did eventually submit to our Insurance first and then billed the exact amount left after other providers ahead of them were paid. In this instance we ended up owing only a hundred bucks and some change after the other providers ahead of them billed us and were paid.

Now again this year the same fight ensued between Vicki and the credit dept. They refused to  budge and sent me an e-mail stating they would cancel my treatments if we did not pay $2750 up front prior to my chemo. Vicki called and the credit person said she had consulted upper management and if we didn't pay up front there would be no treatment. Vicki replied we would change providers and I immediately  started researching other Cancer Treatment Centers. I settled on U of A Cancer Center at St. Joes in Phx, however I wanted to talk my current  Oncologist about this situation before changing after 3 years of chemo, surgery, and radiation with the same place. 

So we showed at 9:00 AM that morning per my  scheduled appointment and were told my appointment and treatment had been cancelled by the credit dept. I explained to the scheduling lady that I wanted to keep my appointment with my Oncologist and after speaking with him we would decide about further treatments. She put me back on the schedule for the appointment.

I should mention my Oncologist is awesome. He is not only a Doctor, but a researcher as well. He is also a great guy. We went over the results of my bloodwork and then I  asked his assistant and Vicki to let the Doctor and I have a private talk. After explaining the issue, I told him that I was concerned about them holding my treatments as hostage instead of following the program and submitting the invoice to our Insurance first. I  also stated we would be changing providers if the credit dept wouldn't follow the program.Then I asked him who was running the place, the Doctors or the Bean Counters. He stated that the Doctors still controlled treatment and I was not the only one with this problem. He then said if the credit gal wouldn't leave me alone he would meet with the managing partner and go from there. 

Luckily he fixed the problem and I got treatment on Friday. We paid the $99  for the office visit because we were pretty sure there was at least that much we hadn't yet paid. The rest of the deductible will be billed through Insurance first so we only pay what is owed.

This incident created a great deal of stress for both Vicki and I. During my conversation with the Oncologist I told him this and my  concern for the transition from private Insurance to Medicare when we retire in April. The last thing we need is more stress.

To add to this I let Vicki know that my condition is considered  chronic. When the doctor and I talked I asked him how long he estimated the treatments would continue. He replied that there was as yet no cure for metastasized colon cancer and I would most likely be in some sort treatment for the rest my life. This brought tears and more stress. It didn't do much for me either.

I will go for a scan before my next appointment and possible treatment on the20th.
My plan is to stay with traditional treatment, stay on my homeopathic regimen and research clinical trials.

As always,

Hang in.


PS: It's 20 minutes after 5 and I have not yet slept. So please excuse any grammar, formatting, or spelling errors. I have proofed this several times but each time I find something to change.


1 comment:

Jack E said...

Hey Brother, I'm with you, let me know if you need me, you know I mean it, not just words. Wish I could do more!