Friday, February 15, 2013

Health insurance paperwork rant

You might recall that I find the paperwork surrounding health care here a little annoying. Well, my latest two experiences have been quite disheartening, to say the least. 

A couple of weeks ago I went in for my regular one-hour pregnancy glucose tolerance test. My doctor had circled the test on a sheet of paper that I took to the health insurance office, where they entered the test into a computer and gave me a blue paper that I took to the actual laboratory. All according to procedure, right? Only it turns out that the circle my doctor had made might have been touching another test, apart from the one I was supposed to have, but instead of checking the actual notes on the front of the paper or even double checking with my doctor, the health insurance clerk (as it turns out) had indolently just made a guess, and by doing so chosen the wrong test to issue the blue paper for. So when I showed up at the laboratory, the following conversation took place,

“Woman, you have fasted?” (It’s not entirely uncommon to be called, “Woman!” here – I’m thinking it’s a language thing.)
“No, I’m not supposed to fast. It’s a one hour test.”
“No, your doctor say you MUST fast. Is a three hour test.”
“No, my doctor told me it’s a one hour test and that I didn’t have to fast.”
“No, you MUST FAST. Your doctor say.”

This went on for a while, until I encouraged the poor lab assistant to call my doctor, which quickly settled the matter without further problems. I don’t know how they sorted out the blue paper mix up, but I never had to go back to the health insurance office for this.

Today I was going in for my MRI. I got my blue paper at the health insurance office two weeks ago, and this time, I thought, there was no room for a mix up – there was a clear circle around MRI with Pelvis written clearly right next to it. After I got my blue paper I took it to radiology where the receptionist, based on my paper work, gave me an appointment. I was all set, I thought. 

Silly me.

When I showed up for my appointment at radiology today, it turns out I didn’t have an appointment for an MRI. Again, the health insurance office clerk had given me a blue paper with a completely different test on it (some kind of special ultrasound). Then when I had gone to make my appointment for the MRI - even though I mentioned "MRI" several times in our conversation - the receptionist had only looked at the blue paper from the health insurance office, and given me an appointment for the special ultrasound.

After spending what seemed like forever canceling a procedure I had never requested, and making a new appointment for the MRI, I had to go back to the insurance office to get my blue papers sorted. The office clerk’s boss inevitably got involved, and the clerk in trouble. Rightfully so, I think.

I will never leave the insurance office with a blue paper again without checking it twice, because at this point, I wouldn’t be surprised if I show up for the birth, and my paper says, "Kidney removal," or "Euthanasia." Sigh. I’m so glad I’m not actually sick. Imagine!

1 comment:

  1. Ooh. Not fun at all. I sincerely hope that when you have the baby, they understand what is happening, blue paper or no blue paper!