Wanted: Bookkeeper/Advocate

Because I just can’t keep track of all the different pieces of paperwork, all the authorization letters that contain general language and don’t say what services are actually covered under the number issued, etc., and all the biling entities!

Today I received a Statement of Denial of Payment for $9,000, for my last BIG appointment (CT scan, ECHO, labs, Dr. visit, infusion) on 10/16/12 (aka the post-NZ new cycle visit).  Supposedly the referral expired 15 days earlier.  Strangely enough, I spoke to the Referrals Office on 11/28, who said a particular Authorization (I say this now, as there are apparently more than one) was extended to that day, but now that I was on the phone, it was extended to Feb. 3, 2013.  I’d asked my oncologist to submit reapproval on 11/13, as my prior Authorization letter expired 11/18.  So what expired on 9/30/12 that’s causing a $9,000 problem?  The Referrals contact (Walnut Creek) mentioned there was a referral approved by the Oakland office.  When I mentioned not having received a recent approval, she said she couldn’t do anything about the Oakland referral.  But then she placed me on hold, came back, and gave me the new date of Feb 2013.  I asked what to do about “the Oakland Referral” to which she said, “Don’t worry about that one.”  And I didn’t.  I went on my merry way to the 2nd floor of the UC Cancer Center for yet another appointment.

I used to be good at this stuff, but 7 years of cancer has obviously dulled my brain and has definitely made me reluctant to deal with things in a timely manner.  So, there’s one referral for travel and the trial, and one just for labs and scans?  If that’s the case, and they don’t expire at the same time, then at least some of the charges on the denial should be covered, right?  And if I have full Kaiser and full Medicare, why isn’t at least part of it covered?  I’m not on a Part C plan, so Kaiser should just pay for the whole thing if Medicare doesn’t want to.  I don’t get it.

Now I really do have to call Kaiser Membership Services, Outside Referrals, University of Colorado…everybody.  Like, 7 offices, just to straighten this out.  It’s ridiculous.  The weekend’s been ruined by this… but then, one might say… I should’ve stayed on top of it.  To which I could say… I ought to hire a bookkeeper so I can try to let some of this go and live a bit before I go.

I wish I felt better so I could really take care of all this.


Procrastination gone wild

So odd to finally have time to post.  Last year I didn’t notice the early darkness but this winter I feel it acutely.  You’d think it would be welcome after the extreme light and heat of the last few months.  Alas, while I enjoy the rain (going on a week now), I love long summer dusks.  I also love weekends, when I feel a reprieve from the clutches of health insurance collectors.  Why, oh why does this get to me, when I know I’m covered and it’s just a paperwork snafu?  The clinical trial coordinator says, “Don’t pay any of these!  I made copies and have a billing specialist looking at them.  I got a bunch of those zero’d out.”  Yet.  Yet, I get calls and mail which make a trip to the mailbox dreadful.  I suffer from a case of over-responsibility.  I need special pills – Get A Life pills, Blow It Off pills, Nolite te bastardes carborundorum pills.  A year’s supply!  (I’ve brought the box of medical bills down, and there they sit on the sofa.  Because I can’t create a mess upstairs, away from the convenience of TV and tea.)

Had lunch with some old high school buddies over the weekend.  Marathon talk-fest, with intermittent wine, coffee, and charcuterie.  Tentative plans for trips all over (the US, while one of them gets a passport and the other one sorts out whether she’s going to Italy with her husband, meaning she can’t go with me).  Just what the doctor ordered, in terms of marriage therapy.  Appears I’m not the only one who’s good to go without further reward or encouragement if deemed upright and breathing.  Although, one gets roses, and the other gets trips abroad.  I get renovated rooms.  I could do worse, and I know it.

These days, in the midst of consumerism gone wild, I AM thankful for what I have, that I’m in a heated home with no wants (besides a longer life, health, a patient advocate, help with my parents and brother… the obvious).  There’s a certain loneliness, but since my complaints and pleas for peace were so amplified the past few months, this solitude has helped me reflect on my blessings.  And I am blessed, to be sure.  Even if I’m insecure in those blessings, they are acknowledged.  And what is life if not a wave beneath us?

Right, enough of that.  Bills?  Pffft.  Thinking of pesto pasta now.  Tomorrow, Dark Shadows!  And maybe some headway with bills and phone calls.  I said MAYBE.