Cancer Ain’t Cheap

Posted: January 7, 2013 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , ,

Whenever things are seemingly calm, that’s when the universe says oh no! Lets shake things up. Just because I CAN get stuff done irregardless to the ruckus doesn’t mean i LIKE to , universe. I’m perfectly fine with plain ol’ boring!

We have been fortunate though. Cancer ain’t cheap. But, the hubby was accepted and enrolled in insurance and they seemingly pay for everything. No co-payment. Cover transportation. They were a godsend. Also his doctors and hospital went above and beyond to find us grants and programs in which we can get anything not covered for free or request special authorization. The hospital approved my hubby for a partial grant which covered transportation to his radiation treatments. His doctors enrolled him in a pharmaceutical program which paid for his chemo which was 14000 for each prescription( it was oral chemotherapy, once cycle was either two or three prescriptions).

They covered 125,00 for the hospitalization bill.

So, we have been very , very fortunate and lucky.

While we may not had a penny to our name, his care and treatment and medication were guaranteed.

Yet, it wasn’t without struggle and fighting teeth and nail for it. And if you personally know us, we don’t cause trouble. We don’t poke around trying to get more for my money, as the saying goes. We apply. We wait for the notices. Or i get impatient and i call inquire about the status. They request something or visit, i run out to the store and fax or mail what they want or make photocopies and pack a bag for us and off we go to the office. We basically go to the doctors, the pharmacy and come home and live like hermits ( before i started working that is).

But, something ALWAYS went wrong. They stopped his benefits twice for no reason at all. They enrolled him in a third party insurance. They’ve even listed him as a U.S. Vet ( he never served!) They sent re-certification notices LATE so his benefits was suspended. They married us countless times( he will not qualify for benefits if we are married). I”m not going to even discuss the times they listed him as illegal and ineligible for benefits( He’s a US citizen but was born overseas in Germany , military parents and all).

This is not an exaggeration. Somethings is always messed up, and we have to fix it.  Last time ( over the summer) was a particular bad “mess up” on THEIR part. They enrolled him under his father’s insurance but his father’s insurance says he’s not enrolled. Meaning, insurance doesn’t pay squat. Which means we wouldn’t be able to afford a doctor visit or even pharmacy medication. Even generic brand is a pretty penny. The hubby went a month without insurance during that time and I Thank God every night he fared it well. We went to three different offices more than once. Spent countless hours on the phone. Doing phoning, faxing and mailing between several different states. Then finally, finally, I faxed the very last letter and called to confirm and everything was righted again.

Or so i thought.

This week bills seemed to pile in out of nowhere. Well it started last week. I understand it was the holidays so regardless of spending hours listening to elevator music and being HUNG UP on and being told I will received a call back THREE times on different occasions. I was frustrated. But , i understood. But, today when i received a $700 bill i saw red.

I called and got no help and assistance at first. SO i cut out the middle man and when through machine and machine ( automated calls) and finally got the hubby’s insurance directly and i demanded answers. Turns out, they never fixed the situation over the summer. There was NO record of it , though i specifically asked for notes to be added to his file over the summer.  It took all my control not to lose it. It wasn’t THIS specific workers fault and she was doing her best to help me. They claimed they never received that last letter i faxed over the summer.

AFter i hung up , in my rage I aggressively pulled the folders off my desk and tossed this about rather unceremoniously until i found it. The letter from the third party insurance that states he wasn’t enrolled since 2007! The letter was still attached to the fax receipt.

I left the house in rampage. Seeing red. Air of anger around me. I mean come on they never got it? I was holding the receipt! I was on my way to fax it again and mail it.But seriously,  this is a person’s TREATMENT you are messing me. Because the bills were not covered, the hubby’s next MRI isn’t being approved. And the next one is a big one. It will be the 2 year anniversary since surgery. Depending on the next MRI , the hubby will either be cleared STABLE ( his type of cancer they dont say remission, they say stable because his type of cancer it never really goes away it just lies dormant) and they will start him on  a rehab program to get back to normal thinking and fitness so he can start living his life again.

So, I’m walking to the pharmacy where i PAY to have stuff faxed and I’m completely in my head saying every single cuss word I know. Vaguely i hear a little ting ting sound, the metal of a dog’s collar. But, i’m so up in a fuss i just dismissed it. I was passing an apartment complex and I was about to step pass the entrance way which is like an alcove, open space and then the doors to enter several yards back. Thats when out of the corner of my eye i see something running directly at me. Fast.

I spin my head sideways and stop dead in my tracks ( deer and headlights) and see this big ball of fur skid to stop in front of me. It barked at me. Then continued running in a circle around the alcove space.

I laughed and kept walking.

When i came home after faxing and mailing I hugged Bianca. The storm has passed. I am tired.

Sure, stuff can never be peaceful and stress free. The bills are there and we do not have the money to pay them, at all. But, like i said, Cancer aint cheap. But, i’ll never stop fighting for my hubby and his insurance. I will never let him not get care and doctor treatment for fear of payment. I will not compromise quality of treatment either. He deserves the best and we have been getting the best and for that I am Thankful.

So bill me all you want. Loose my paperwork all you want.

You’ll just see me outside your office early morning with a big cup of coffee.  I have a good copy machine.

  1. This sounds like a nightmare. I feel very blessed having the NHS in the UK and all my meds are free because I know they cost a fortune. Will be praying the next MRI shows the results you want…


  2. C. R. says:

    I have no insurance at all and i have a relatively serious health problem. I am so glad that even though it’s a hassle, you are being taken care of!!


    • Cheri, I’m so sorry to hear you have health complications 😦 I hope it’s not TOO serious and something you can manage and recover from. I know insurances cost and arm and leg. It’s one of the main reasons my parents don’t sell the house and relocate to a different state where cost of living is cheaper. They are trying to hold out until my father turns 65 so he can qualify for medicare. The fiancee was lucky enough the hospital we went too had a Medicaid office that operates within the hospital so i think they fudged some of the requirements and push the paperwork a little bit.


  3. sethsnap says:

    Sorry to hear about your troubles. The last thing that folks should worry about during sickness or sickness of a loved one is how to pay for it. But it seems as though y’all are fighters. 🙂


  4. nishi01 says:

    Yes, it is not cheap…as someone I know had is an expensive affliction to have. All the best


  5. Katie Renee says:

    I’m an insurance billing admin. (although I specialize in obstetrics and gynecology, not oncology), so if you have any questions about the whole insurance mess, I’ll be happy to help you if I can. I get the run around from insurance companies all the time. There’s been many lawsuits and allegations… in one case, it was discovered that a major insurance company created software to delete 1/3 of the claims received. Like they never even existed at all. Another didn’t pay claims for 2 months to reduce their bottom line and make them seem more efficient. It’s really screwed up. Automatically assume that it’s intentional because it usually is.

    I think it’s awesome that you are so focused and on top of your husband’s care. That is extremely, extremely rare. Many companies bank on their subscriber’s ignorance about insurance, hence why things are made to seem more complicated than they actually are. What really annoys me with this whole mess is that you are having to do so much of it. When a claim gets denied, I handle it, not the patient. It seems unfair to throw you out there alone, you should have a team of insurance admins behind you with lots of experience wading through the BS.

    You have a fantastic attitude, and I mean that. You are also really good with insurance… maybe you should look into medical billing and coding. If I were a patient, I’d want you watching my back.

    Hope your hubby is well, and I hope you get to enjoy that coffee without being harassed by more bills and red tape. And like I said, if I can be of any help, please let me know. 🙂


    • Oh Katie Thank YOU!! If i need any help I will definitely drop you a line. I mailed AND faxed the letter and requested they contact this “third party insurance” themselves for verification of records. So they should have the fax this morning and they said the verification takes 24 hours. So i’m giving them today and tomorrow morning I will call to confirm they received the fax and verification ( and the letter is traveling in the mail so they will receive that back up in a few days).

      I know sometimes its all shwerd corporate happenings, and not the people on the phone or in offices I encounter with, so I try my best to not take it out on them. I try my best to not complain because it is FREE insurance that pays for everything and grants the fiancee approval after approval for MRI’s and all the specialists. So they have been good to us. But, like i said corporate shrewdness, the fiancee costs them a pretty penny.. they don’t make it easy to renew , re-certify and we have to personally stay on top of everything. They never send notices of approval – or denial-. Actually they do send notices of approval for MRI’s .. i usually get them a month after he already had the test down :eyeroll: So, i usually just call them and call them again and again.


      • P.s. I was seriously considering doing a certification program for medical billing and coding. My plan was to do that and get a job in that field cause it pays decent and save up to go back to school for my Ba, then masters and eventual PHD. But, i didn’t know if i wanted to dedicate the year for a certification program when eventually I was going to leave the field all together. I’m so confused! lol. I’m thinking of venturing back into my original desire of psychiatry but I don’t want to do the whole med school thing so maybe just a counseling field or business psychology. So , working in medical billing and coding would be good experience even though its the administrative side of things.


        • Katie Renee says:

          Insurance billing is a good skill to have if you want to linger around healthcare. Healthcare is a great field to work in, especially part time. I don’t have any certs because I kind of fell into it. The only thing coming up on the horizon is the ICD-10 upgrade which expands our codes times… ten (takes one diagnosis code and splits it into a million specifics). But they keep messing it up so it keeps getting delayed. Anyway, it’s totally up to you… it depends on the length of time and the amount of money it would cost for a cert. If you like people, you won’t like it though. I spend time with my computer and the people in the call centers. And sadly, my great victories go unsung… no one understands what I do, so when I proclaim “I AM THE BILLING GODDESS!!!” they look at me like I’m nuts.

          This crap is hard! I’ll celebrate every hard won payment regardless of the lack of appreciation… 😉


      • Katie Renee says:

        Yeah, what they are doing is stalling. I can pull up any insurance portal and immediately tell who is covered, where they live, and their exact effective dates. Hang in there!

        As for the people in the call centers, they are awesome. Most of them are excited to get someone who’s actually… agreeable. The wait times can be super long, so people can get irate. LOL

        You are absolutely right though, your insurance is a blessing… I guess they want you to never forget it for a second as you are running around collecting various papers for a million different people 24/7. 😉


  6. Here in the UK everyone moans about the NHS and is very quick to point out their flaws. This post makes me extremely grateful (although it’s heartbreaking to read because no one should ever go through this, and I dont think anyone needing cancer treatment should be denied it or made to pay. Over here you get so much, weekly benefits, unlimited amounts of drugs, a free bus pass, travel arranged to the hospital etc) but I do suffer some pain in that boyf never covered his house. No insurance whatsoever, so they won’t cover the cost of the mortgage and wipe the slate. Effectively I am better off a ‘single parent’ as I get more government support than I would still being with him (besides also not being able to care for him or manage/control his mood swings and outbursts – especially with a baby around! I hope you get it all sorted and your Mr gets his MRI done, amazing to think over here they do MRI scans like they are routine check ups. I wish I could donate to you one of the many pointless and unnecessary scans I’ve had to have. You’ll get there, beat the system!


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