Over the last 6 months I’ve dabbled a bit in different alterations to my diet – vegan, paleo-ish, low carb, etc – and I discovered when I was vegan that I have some food…intolerances? It doesn’t appear to be allergies, and that’s a whole different topic, but suffice to say that I had several separate occasions where my digestive system, erm, emptied everything out from all available exits. (And that’s something I never thought I’d be putting out into the internet)
One of the instances was bad enough that The Geek took me into the emergency room to be sure it wasn’t something severely wrong with me. This resulted in a six hour wait, one blood test, and a shrug, along with “We don’t know what’s wrong, come back in three days if it hasn’t changed.”
I input my insurance information, paid the $500 bill when it came, and moved on, also working out what my stomach is sensitive to so I don’t have those issues anymore.
And then, this arrived in the mail.
As you may imagine, my response was “what?!” followed by a string of obscenities.
A number of thoughts streamed through my mind; this must be a mistake, something’s gone wrong, I can’t possibly have to pay this much more for so little service. Anger and bitterness welled up, but after I’d cooled down again I called the number given to ask why the fuck I owed another $1100.
The answer? There are two separate entities that bill for emergency room visits. The bill is not a mistake, and I have to pay it.
It just so happened that right after I got off the phone I pulled up the most recent article from Nerd Fitness, hoping to veg out and forget my bills for a minute. The topic was taking responsibility for our own actions – in that context, primarily for health and fitness, but also across the board.
As I think about it, I realize that I am, at least in part, to blame for this. I didn’t take the time to call my parents to find out for sure what hospital would be in my insurance network, and I didn’t ask anyone during intake how much it might cost.
I even have the money to pay for it, I just… don’t really want to. That money could’ve bought a lot of other things. But I guess that’s part of being an adult: doing things I don’t want to do and don’t necessarily think are fair.
While I do still think that over $1500 is far too much to pay for those services, I’m stuck with that bill now. I can gripe and bitch about the system (which does need fixing, but isn’t changed at all by me whining), or I can accept that I made a mistake and move on.
Now I have information so that I can quickly look up in network providers, and you can be sure that I won’t be going to the ER anytime soon unless I’ve got a broken bone or a head wound.