Sorry to whine.

Am feeling very distressed.  I am angry, depressed, tired, frustrated, somewhat helpless.  Mostly I just don’t have the energy to deal with all these problems, which are probably trivial compared to a homeless person with a chronic illness, living in a war-torn country, etc etc etc.  But here and now, I wish I was one of those people who don’t seem bothered by too much, whether it’s bills or housework or the needs of family members or having all their stuff moved constantly in the pursuit of home renovation.  I truly envy those folks, and wonder if they’re just born with a natural capacity to shrug things off, believing that if something’s ignored, it’ll just go away.

I’ve been paying an arm and a leg for health insurance through Kaiser Permanente forever and a day.  There was never any question or complication until one day, someone discovered I had Medicare.  I didn’t even know I had it because, why would I?  I’ve always had Kaiser, which was originally paid by the Hubs’ employers.  After his abrupt resignation (and our move to SoCal), I’ve had to pay for it, but they’ve treated me alright, approved the clinical trial which has thus far extended my life… so it was all good.

Now, because I “suddenly” have Medicare, all the medical billing is screwed up, and I can’t figure out why.  And I’m pretty sure it’ll take days on the phone and visits with various billing departments (since there’s the actual physician’s fee, which is separate, and the hospital fee) before it’s all straightened out.  Apparently the thing is to bill the government first.  Whatever they don’t pay, Kaiser will cover.  If they weren’t paying my airfare to Denver, I’m pretty sure they aren’t covering $1000/month worth of visits.

I sought advice from HICAP, which is a state-funded agency whose volunteers provide assistance with health insurance questions.  The counselor I spoke with was a health insurance professional for 17 years.  She said she’d never seen a case like mine, and answered all my questions with more questions.  Her final conclusion was that I’d have to call Medicare and Kaiser for answers, and perhaps I should become a HICAP counselor.  Yep, that’s what she said, besides that I was an inspiration for having survived so long with Stage IV lung cancer.

So while I will now spend the night before a trip to Denver scanning every bill and receipt I have – if I can find them, as my office has been moved 4 times and previously arranged things in piles – I wish I had the benefit of a) a scanner with a feeder (given to my folks because someone didn’t feel the feeder was necessary), and b) someone who could advocate for me – get the stack, make the calls, straighten this out.  Because I am just so tired.

Doh.  Now the scanner won’t work.  And the rest of my family is calling me.  I think it’s time to think of hiring someone, or a number of people maybe, to deal with the stuff I need to do for myself and my parents.  A hired advocate, that’s what I need.  Any takers?


3 thoughts on “Grrrrrrr

  1. Oh God, there is a lot I would rather do than be stuck with tons of billing paperwork… like get a colonoscopy. Good lord. But you know where I’d tell them to stick their paperwork!

  2. You know I’d be there in a heartbeat if I could. In my own swamp fighting alligators of a different breed. Stress is the last thing you need in your life. Just know that you are never far from my thoughts. Nobody pulling harder for you than I am.

  3. I would think that it’s up to Kaiser to get in touch with Medicare and try to recoup some (or all) of the money which Kaiser unknowingly paid , not realizing you had Medicare. But usually you have to sign up for Medicare and so it’s unusual that you didn’t know you had Medicare. I sympathize with you and hope that things can be worked out without more effort on your part. “GRRRRRR” is right. Luck to you, Patricia

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