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What’s Up, Doc?

Sunday, June 2nd, 2013 Leave a comment Go to comments

About a week and a half ago, I went to see a podiatrist to have a piece of glass removed from my foot. I stepped on a piece of glass from a broken mirror about 5 weeks earlier. Since my foot never completely healed and my regular doctor didn’t find anything, I figured I needed to get it checked out by a specialist. Also, my medical insurance that I had from working at Tactel was about a week away from expiring.

One thing I’ve noticed since I moved here is that I never have to pay anything before I leave a doctor’s or dentist’s office, even if there’s a sign stating that payment must be made at the time services are rendered. When I was in Starkville, I always had to pay something before leaving the office. There were times when I was close to broke (still in school or barely out of school) and asked if they could file it with my insurance and send me a bill later. Nope. They always wanted me to pay something before I left the office. Now that I’m in Portland and more well off, I never have to pay anything before I leave. I always stop by the checkout desk before I leave, and they look at me like they’re confused and say, “Do you need to schedule a follow-up appointment?” When I say that I don’t they tell me that they’ll bill me what my insurance doesn’t pay.

I wonder why there’s a difference. Is it because I lived in a small town then and I live in a major metropolitan area now? Is it because of the insurance plan I’m on? Maybe I’ve just been lucky with my choices of medical providers since I moved here. Who knows? It just makes me happy when doctors are more concerned about helping patients than getting money from them.

They did find some glass in my foot. I hope they got it all out. It still hurts a little, but hopefully I won’t have to go back.

  • The difference is probably the type of billing they’re doing, whether you have a copay or have a deductible, and the policy of the office itself. Is it just for the podiatrist? Do you get a bill eventually? What do your statements say?

    I’m actually switching doctors because they refuse to let you see a doctor until you pay a copay. Last time I was there, it was just for a routine blood test (we have thyroid issues on both sides of my family, so my sisters and I get tested every year) and I was never supposed to see a doctor because she had written the referral when I was in there a week earlier to just come by and get the blood work done. They didn’t believe me and made me pay the $40 copay. I got back to the room, the doctor came in and asked what I was doing there and sent me to the right area. The only time I saw the doctor was for her to give me fucking directions to the room next door! I was outraged that I was charged for an office visit and they refused to give me my money back. I tried fighting it with the insurance company, but it was right before the wedding and then SDCC, so I ended up saying screw it. I skipped my normal doctor’s appt last year (oops), so now I’m switching this year.

  • @Colleen I always get the bill eventually. I’ve been to my normal doctor two or three times since I moved here. I didn’t have to pay anything in the office and the bill that I got was always $15. I know I have a $500 deductible, but I’m pretty sure I haven’t paid it. I should pay closer attention to the statements. The podiatrist didn’t charge me anything in the office either, and I haven’t received the bill yet. When I was in Mississippi, I would pay $70 just for an office visit.

    I would change doctors too if I went through that. I went a a long time without seeing one of my old doctors once and didn’t have insurance at the time. They tried to make me pay $100 before I could see the doctor. I went somewhere else.