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When Employment Ends, the Appointments Begin October 11, 2010

Posted by Admin in Blog Math, Healthonymous, Money, Women.
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Since I learned that my employment would end soon, I have scheduled the following:

  1. Overnight Sleep Study (for sleep apnea)
  2. Regular Physical (mammogram, cholesterol, Pap)
  3. 2010 3 in 1 Flu Shot (no shortage this year)
  4. Visit to the Optician
  5. 2 Massages for October (lymphedema)
  6. Cancer study appts: ultrasound, plus CA 125 blood test

Here’s how it is going:

Sleep-see separate post today…

Flu shot: easy-peasy and no side effects.

Cholesterol test. Each one of these begins with a great phlebotomist. How easy is it to voluntarily submit to a blood draw, while hungry and uncaffeinated? These phlebotomists should get combat pay!

(my secret-a number 23 needle)

Results-could be better. Fewer carbs?

Mammogram: Normal (what is normal, anyway?)

Pap test. (TBD-a couple of weeks). Good news for women! New policy. If one year is clear, then you might get a three year pass until the next one! (in my home town, at least)

Note: Each appt. cost includes parking, time away from work (whoops not any more), opportunity cost then, and a $20 co-pay (except for an appt. labelled annual physical exam), in the name of prevention. No co-pay at the optician and the parking there is free.

Cost for last week: $6.00 (parking)

Week before (sleep study) $14.00 parking plus TBD

Two days before sleep study: $4.00 parking for consultation that led to sleep study

(was physician maximizing his/her revenue for September?) hmmmm.

Goodbye to 2009 January 5, 2010

Posted by Admin in Blog Math, Diary, Health Insurance.
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Now I see why calculating this total was hard for me.

I had an eventful year in 2009, including unanticipated dental work (a cracked tooth that could not be saved), an age related procedure (colonoscopy), a DNA test covered under GINA, and an infection that was treated as if it was MRSA. In contemplating this post, I realized that I have postponed the next visit to my physician, due to the expense.

My expenses  since I began the blog total $$1249.81, divided by 14 weeks. That is a daunting $89.27 per week. Annualized, that is $4,642 spent on health care appointments, premiums, co-pays and out of pocket expenses.

Are there any lessons from 2009?

  • I did a good job managing my lymphedema with exercise, massage and diligent use of my compression sleeve.
  • However, in the last six months, partly since I did not do the 2009 Danskin triathlon, I really fell off the exercise wagon. You won’t read my exercise intentions here for a while (as this is not a fitness blog!) , but I do realize that returning to a regular exercise plan will provide immediate benefits as well as potentially decrease expenses…
  • As far as managing my expenses, some of my out-of-pocket costs could not have been avoided. I look forward to decreasing the other ones in 2010!

Health Care “Providers” and the $30 Co-Pay December 13, 2009

Posted by Admin in Cancer, Diary, Healthonymous, Money.
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In my life, I have had many more health care “providers” than I ever dreamed that I would. In addition to the two excellent surgeons that I had for my cancer surgeries, I have seen people with titles such as dosimetrist, audiologist,  and a gynecological oncologist. I even see phlebotomists regularly (oops, just recalled I need to redo my latest CA 125 blood test-the number was slightly elevated last time).

But the health care job title of the person I enjoy visiting most is that of licensed massage therapist! Regular readers know that I have a prescription for massage to treat my lymphedema. My arm always feels better after and it is usually easier to put my compression sleeve back on too. Yes, after ten years, I still wear mine.

This week’s only expense was my $30 co-pay for my every other week massage. It is very helpful to have someone knowledgeable about manual lymphatic drainage look after me, plus they have two hands to minister with and I feel like a on-armed paper hanger sometimes trying to address my own needs. Ever try to kiss your elbow? Sometimes doing your own lymph massage is just that frustrating.

Tantalizing close, but definitely out of reach!

Expenses out of pocket for week ending December 12th: $30.00


Massage for Lymphedema November 29, 2009

Posted by Admin in Blog Math, Cancer, Diary, Humor, Money.
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[picapp align=”center” wrap=”false” link=”term=health+massage&iid=1134532″ src=”6/0/f/b/Massage_bfe8.jpg?adImageId=7903797&imageId=1134532″ width=”380″ height=”283″ /]

And that method did what?

I could ask my licensed massage therapist to hand me a glass now and then however!

Last week’s expenses: $30 co-pay for massage. Too bad my insurance coverage next year will not take my ICD9 code into consideration for treatment. Monthly totals tomorrow.

Total for Week ending November 27: $30.00

Weekly Expenses-ER bill November 20, 2009

Posted by Admin in Blog Math, Diary, Health Insurance, Money.
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The other shoe finally dropped. Remember my visit to the emergency room (ER)  in October?  Yesterday I received three actual envelopes in my mail-two out of the three were health care related. You can tell that the health care business is important to the Postal Service.

[picapp align=”center” wrap=”false” link=”term=mail+delivery&iid=5672705″ src=”b/4/6/c/The_Expected_Budget_87b9.jpg?adImageId=7691531&imageId=5672705″ width=”380″ height=”260″ /]

One envelope was the Explanation of Benefits (EOB) for the hospital charges from my 3-4 hour visit to receive IV antibiotics for an infection (cellulitis), treated as if it was MRSA. This was the balance of the charges.

The bill (before the PPO adjustments) was $1282.13. This is in addition to the charge (previously noted) for the physician.  This was for the second visit in one day for a cellulitis (skin infection) that was treated as if it was MRSA. I was in intense pain, which probably was nerve pain from the inflammation.

Part of my bill was .23 for pharmacy services. I do not recall what that was. I may spend more than .23 in someone’s time and query the company as to what that was for.

I think that if the burning, sharp, recurrent pain in my head had been described differently by me, (and interpreted differently by the physician) that I might not have needed to go back to the ER, because it would have been treated correctly on the first visit-7 hours before.

My share of the bill is $149.09 (after the $100 ER co-pay).

Weekly Expenses: $149.09

GINA, Coverage and Me Update November 5, 2009

Posted by Admin in Cancer, Health Insurance, Money.
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Wow! I opened an innocuous, slim envelope from my insurance company yesterday-an Explanation of Benefits or EOB. My DNA test from September to discern whether I have the  (Breast Cancer) BRCA mutations is covered in full! No more funds out of pocket! (search under DNA or GINA for previous posts)

I could have been liable for up to $350, and the blood test bill was  $3120. After a provider “adjustment”, the insurance company will pay them $2964.00.

No deductible, no co-insurance, only the two co-pays for the office visits of $40.

If you are going to have a system that keeps cancer patients alive long enough to be survivors, then these follow-up procedures should be covered (with appropriate privacy for the patient) in order to practice further early detection and possibly even prevention.

[picapp src=”3/9/1/1/Rep_Hoyer_hosts_7c52.JPG?adImageId=7129555&imageId=6278902″ width=”234″ height=”388″ /]

I waited eleven years for this test.

Relief is spelled GINA!

October Expenses-Scary! October 31, 2009

Posted by Admin in Blog Math, Cancer, Diary, Health Insurance, Money.
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  • ER visit week of 10-5-09:   co-pay before entering the treatment room $100, Dr. fee $266-my percentage of 20% after “negotiated adjustment” =  $34.02, IV drugs ?
  • Co-pays for 2 Office visits for cellulitis and 1 for DNA Test results: $60
  • Flu shot (regular)-no separate bill yet (I think)
  • Plus antibiotics (2 different types), extra pain meds (neither of which worked) $40
  • DNA test-not yet paid by insurance company $3100 (my maximum will be $350) but I haven’t been billed yet because the insurance company is hassling the lab that performed the service (the one that said they had my back). Classify this one as: “hanging over my head”
  • Regular Rx renewals $39.91 (for three months each)
  • Office visits for Ovarian Cancer research study: annual ultrasound of ovaries and CA 125 blood Test : FREE (classify this one to rule things out). More on the CA 125 test in a future post.
  • Bill for September dentist (annual exam, X-rays and cleaning) $45.40 out of pocket (insurance paid $181.60)
  • Co-pays for two therapeutic lymphedema massages: $60

Scary total: $513.00

Weekly Expenses October 30, 2009

Posted by Admin in Blog Math, Cancer, Diary, Money.
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This week’s expenses were not as scary as Halloween week could be. I had a regular massage for my back and my lymphedema on Monday.  One side effect of blogging is that I spend more time in front of the computer. This causes my shoulders to hunch over and my chest muscles to contract. The massage helps to loosen them back up. (But I probably need to get back in the pool.)

Co-pays this week only $30.00 for the massage. I ordered a refill of the other prescription I take by mail. A three-month supply is around $19.00. But I overpaid the company last month so it won’t cost anything-they already have my money! Great for cash flow-but poor planning, nonetheless.

Weekly expenses: $30.00

Monthly total coming this weekend-that might be scary!

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