Friday, January 21, 2011

Doctor, Doctor

Dear Doctor,

It was nice to meet with you briefly last month for my annual check-up in which you didn't actually check me for anything at all, not even hitting my knee with that little hammer, but rather only talked with me about my health generally, which I was glad we didn't do over the phone because that wouldn't have felt very official and wouldn't have involved me walking 20 minutes in the rain to your office and reading a 2005 People magazine in your waiting room. Nonetheless, it was nice to talk with you a bit about my health, except for that whole part when you asked if there was anything about my health that had been bothering me, and when I responded "Yes" with a few questions I had, you charged me for a COMPLETELY SEPARATE visit and billed my insurance company $900. I also wanted to thank your financial department for their sensitivity when I called to explain the situation and my disbelief about being charged twice for one and the same 30 minute visit with particular gratitude to the customer "service" agent who repeated "There are different codes." 74 times until I thought I was going to have an aneurysm, but realized I couldn't afford it. It was really generous of them to waive the $25 co-pay I would have had to pay for the second visit, which was actually the same visit.

It will be exciting to receive the two dozen "Explanation of Benefits" mailings I will now receive from my insurance company while you guys fight to the death over whether they'll play your "actual rate" of $900 (which no one pays except those schmucks with no health insurance) or the" adjusted rate", which is about 75% less but still twice my monthly salary.

I also felt very appreciative of your suggestion that I see a Nutritionist, as I think I would very much benefit from hearing someone in a white coat remind me that if I eat less and work out more I can lose weight. Unfortunately, I'm unable to follow through with your suggestion, as my insurance doesn't cover Nutritionists and the practitioner your office recommended charges "between $150 and $300" for the first visit (depending on what, I don't know. Pounds you weigh? Vocation? Obsession with cheese?).

Between you and me, I'm so glad that the Republicans have decided to do away with this health care reform nonsense. Obviously, the system is working fine.

Anyhow, I'm looking forward to seeing you again next year, and I hope you're able to buy yourself something special for yourself with my $900.

All the best,



  1. I still get shocked and appalled EVERY time I hear one of these stories, and they're happening ALL the time. . . . . I BELIEVE the politicians OUGHT to be assigned to LIVE with people who HAVE no money or job for about 90 days........ and PAY ALL COSTS to their hosts for ALL the things that happen..... than return to DC with NO money...... (as if that would make a difference).....You've written a masterpiece.