Back To the Corner

I went out for a high-speed drive across town for a sense of perspective. Needed to get myself outside of myself for a while because I’m really, really in the middle of it. Right now, I’m a dog in a corner, and I’m ready to bite.

Today, I got a bomb dropped on me in the form of two envelopes from my health insurance carrier. Inside is a pair of Explanation of Benefits (EOB). Remember back in March and April when I saw the chiropractor because my back was messed up and I needed help in a bad way? Well, I finally got the insurance statements from all those visits. The end result is that my insurance carrier won’t pay for a single thing; their rejection reason is that the chiropractor isn’t in network. That’s Bullshit with a capital B.

When I was looking for help, I called the clinic; I’ve been to this clinic for 7 years…my general practitioner is there. And, for a while, so was the chiropractor. So I called the office to check, to see if I would be covered if I saw her for my back. The operator said she’d have to pass on the question to the billing department. They called me back and confirmed to the positive that I would have coverage, so I made the first of a series of appointments.

The first visit was nothing but a consultation on Monday. She then sent me for X-rays which I took that day. Then, since she didn’t show up to the office for my appointment on Wednesday, I had to come in Thursday to look over the X-rays and come up with a treatment plan. THEN, finally, had a visit Friday to pop my back into shape…two weeks after injury. She wanted me to visit three times the next week (office visits are $30 copay each time), but I whittled it down to two visits. By the end of that week, it was revealed that she was no longer a member of the clinic and that she would start her own practice elsewhere. So, I didn’t visit her again.

I had been waiting on the EOBs from the visit, but suspected something was dreadfully wrong. All my other EOBs from all the other visits to the various doctors I see produce an EOB from my insurer in short time. Something had to be wrong, and fucking hell, it was very wrong. I tallied up the charges from those five visits and the X-rays: $1270. You read that correctly.

My blood is boiling; I haven’t felt this level of rage in years. It’s an impotent rage because in the wash of corporate displacement and beaurocratic process, I have no target. No one is to blame. Nobody is at fault, and my only recourse is to play the game. I was provided an address to submit a written appeal; you can damn-well believe I’ll appeal. This is Bullshit. If I had known that the chiropractor was out of network, I would not have fucking gone for the first visit, let alone all five. I was lied to. I believed the lie. The one who lied to me didn’t know they were lying. Misinformation happened.

My teeth are grinding. Whatever it was I was doing in my life, whatever I had planned for the weekend, it’s fucked. My teeth are grinding. I’m in a corner, and I am ready to bite.

Sunshine and Birds

Happy Zombie Jesus Day.

Nice and warm today, and I’m out and about on foot. Should’ve worn a hat. Springtime here in Austin is a beautiful, beautiful time. The birds come out and show their colours. And boy, how they shine. It was cold and wretched yesterday, and the lack of a crowd at Pease park was incredible. I was able to walk around without dodging unleashed dogs or ducking for cover from errant frisbee golf discs.

Got a call from my chiropractor yesterday (unorthodox, given it was Saturday). She left a message announcing that my doctor’s clinic has decided to kick her out and replace her with a physical therapist. That’s a condemnation on her, to be sure, but I wonder what the true reason is.

Maybe she’s not performing to the business metrics required by the clinic, like keeping up rental contributions on the exam room, keeping a certain quantity of clientelle, making sure the number of reschedules and days out are below a limit. Maybe the clinic, in hiring her and the acupuncturist, made a grab at “embracing the eastern medicines” for holistic therapy, but now in this current market all the white people are shedding their need to spend money on the frou-frou stuff. I dunno.

What I do know is that she fixed my back and gave me a few methods to strengthen myself against further problems. I do feel some allegiance to go back to her at her new solo practice, but given the uneven ride thus far, I’m not sure if I should cut and run, passing the buck onto my insurance company’s support of her services, or just keep going.

I’ll return her call Monday and talk to my insurance carrier to see if my visits will still be covered. But even then, at $30 copay per office visit, it’d be a tall order to actually visit her as often as she’d like. I’m not made of money.

Speaking of money, the paycut I got a few months ago is starting to affect me. I’ve gotten some money on the side here and there (like the check from when the kid backed into my car), and soon I’ll be getting my tax return, but no matter where I cut corners, I’m just above breaking even, and that’s scary. May 27 is my 24-month anniversary at my job, and nobody but Volt and my client’s HR department know if they will honor my latest extension to August or if they’ll walk me out the door next month. Looking at my bank balance, I seriously hope they let me stay around.

I picked up the new U2 album “No Line on the Horizon”, and I’m giving it a spin right now. I like it so far. I may make a review later.