So, I may or may not have totally freaked out over the last 10 days or so…I mean, I didn’t strip naked and throw poop at people in an airport, but I had a good several days in which I was questioning every single decision I’ve made over the last 2 months, which is NOT how I roll.
It all started after New Year’s, when I was back at work. I started getting call from my providers with cost estimates for my surgery. $2,200 for Non Network Anesthesia – whoa, but ok. (I fought the Anesthesia beast nearly a decade ago, after a Non Network epidural – so very often, Anesthesia is Non Network.) Then I got the call that I’d have to pay $8,000 to the Non Network facility to even walk in the door. And then I realized that my Non network deductible is $16,000. This is when I started to lose my shit. I love the Plastic Surgeon I originally chose, but I had a hard time reconciling the cost with the whole purpose of the surgery….
This is when I found out just how similar healthcare is to buying a car. I immediately had a consult with a Network Surgeon and started the process all over again. I got everything set up with that surgeon – I liked her, too. The next day, I called the original surgeon’s office and canceled. Within an hour – I shit you not – the doctor himself called me directly, assuring me that his office will work on the cost with me. His Billing Manager called me as well.
By this point, I had no idea what to do. I contacted my breast surgeon, and she assured me that I would get fantastic results with either Plastic Surgeon and I should go with my gut. My gut is useless, so I brought my husband to the Pre-op appointment with the first surgeon. After visiting in person with both the Plastic Surgeon AND billing director, we got a better feel for the billing process and how the gap coverage arrangement works, which allows a Non Network Provider bill as a Network Provider. They also promised to hold claims for 30 days, which will be nice.
Ultimately, we decided to stay with my original Non Network Plastic Surgeon, trusting that the billing won’t be outrageous. Needless to say, figuring all this out was exhausting and added unnecessary stress to an already stressful situation – and I have “good” insurance. I can’t imagine what it’s like for those without coverage, trying to determine whether to have a life-saving surgery based on cost alone. Fuck each and every politician that has voted against universal healthcare and allowed our for-profit system to spiral out of control.
So my freak-out and rant is over and surgery is drawing near. On Monday, I’ll have new boobs and have reduced my lifetime risk of breast cancer from 46%, to less than 2%. I’m gonna keep saying that to myself, over and over, like a mantra…less than 2%…less than 2%…less than 2%. It sounds so sweet.