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Sunday, October 21, 2012


As a mother of six, that is a lot of money.

I do remember a brief time in my life, when I was single....working a great job.....paid cheap rent for a basement apartment...... A time when I would drop that much at Target on a cute cart-full of little things and didn't bat an eyelash.

But, in general, that is still a lot of money to me.

So, let me ask you this question.

How much would I have to pay you to take a look at me....naked?

Did you get that?

I am paying look at me.....naked. 

Thinking smile

Okay, are you done thinking?

I can't believe I am about to type this sentence. 

I just paid $142.85 for a Physicians Assistant to look at me....naked.

It wasn't even the doctor.

I don't understand my insurance anymore.

Back in the good old days of healthcare in Minnesota.....maybe even the good old days before Obamacare (I don't really understand that either) yearly visits to the dermatologist were considered preventative and were covered 100% as long as I went to someone within my "network".

I hadn't been to the dermatologist in 3 years, since we moved.  I had been putting it off because, quite frankly, I hate the healthcare options available here in Georgia.

But, in case you haven't seen me in real life, I am very pale....and have lots of freckles and moles that can turn into nastiness if left unwatched.

So, I finally (3 years later) put on my big girl panties and scheduled an appointment.  Since I haven't had the best luck with doctors down here, and have been surprised numerous times by the amount we owe when the bill came.  I called my insurance company directly and asked them to tell me who to go see.....thinking it would be cheaper that way.

So, they gave me a name, I called.

Now, here is where my first red flag went up and I didn't pay attention to it.

They had an opening the very next day.  In Minnesota, I always had at least a month wait to get in.

From the point I hit the ripped up welcome mat on the way in, it was horrible....and I wasn't even naked yet.

The front desk receptionist was rude and had a nasty attitude.  I got the feeling that she felt she was doing us "little people" a favor by being in our presence and allowing us to see her providers. 

As I was waiting in line, I heard her tell the pharmaceutical rep that the doctor was gone for the day.  Hmmm.....I thought that was who I was seeing. 

For the record, I do not mind Nurse Practitioners and Physicians Assistants....our primary care guy in Minnesota was a wonderful Nurse Practitioner.  What I do mind is telling me on the phone my appointment is with the doctor and showing up to find out it is with someone else.  Bait and switch.

Oh, well.  I was here now.  Then I proceeded to fill out the extensive paperwork provided (really, I don't see how many of those questions relate to my skin).  As a former Executive Assistant and the one in charge of creating forms for the clinic I worked at, I was appalled at the forms that they handed me.....copies of copies of copies....if you know what I mean.  It was blurry and crooked.

Again, back to the rude receptionist.  I went up to hand in my paperwork and get my insurance card back.  I was tall enough to see that she was on the phone, so I just stood there waiting.  While I was waiting, another gentleman from the waiting room came up and said something like, "Excuse me...but my son has been waiting over 30 minutes for his appointment."

Now, this man was quite short....and the receptionist was sitting behind the computer screen.  He obviously could not see that she was on the phone.

She took the phone away from her ear and super rudely (picture one of those rude New Yorkers in the movies) said, "I am on the phone!"....accompanied by an eye roll and head shake that sent her big hoop earrings bouncing around on her shoulders.

He and I shared a look and he whispered to me, "Be with you in a minute, sir."

Honestly, I did think about walking away at this point.  I really should have, but I was so proud of myself for finally scheduling this appointment after 3 years.....that my feet didn't move.

Then, the rude receptionist informed me that I had used up all my HRA dollars so I would have to pay for the entire visit out of pocket.  I asked whether my insurance would at least pay a percentage of the visit.  I was told no.

I asked how much it would be.

She hollered over to the other lady sitting on the other side of the office to ask and the answer was hollered back.


Stupidly, I still didn't walk away.  I think I was sort of afraid that they would charge me anyway for being a "no show" for the appointment.

Enter a non-smiling nurse to call me back to the room.  I still tried to be friendly and nice.  (It is a problem I have....I want everyone to like me).

I was told to undress and that the PA would be in shortly.  When the PA breezed in, she was friendly and nice.  But, without going into much detail....she wasn't my doctor in Minnesota.  I wasn't sure if she had really looked over all my nooks and crannies for potential bad moles. 

Here is where the other difference is.  In Minnesota, if something suspicious was found and they wanted to take it off to analyze it.....they took it off....right then and there.  No separate office visit was needed.  Ever.

Guess what I was told?  They do not do removals the same day (yes, this was also snottily said) for the one mole that she wanted to take off, I would have to come back again.

I am not going to.

I can't imagine how much money that would cost.  Office visit plus removal.  No thanks.  Besides, I get enough snotty attitude from my kids, thank you very much.

It was sort of nightmarish from the beginning to end.  I know that I shouldn't take my moles lightly and I will probably see if my regular doctor down here (who isn't horrible) will take it off and have it biopsied.  If not, I am, for now, just going to take a picture of it and keep an eye on it.

Healthcare in Georgia feels like I am in a whole new world....and not in a good way.  The overarching feeling I get whenever we go to the doctor is that they are doing us a favor by seeing us.  That we should be grateful that they have allowed us to darken their doorstep.  There really is no southern hospitality in site.  Other than the fact that I get called, "Honey" or "Sweetie" a bit more than I would like.

I was spoiled in Minnesota.  They have spectacular, innovative health care available.  Although you will run into a few crabby people here and there, most often you will find  "Minnesota Nice" displayed. I think I was spoiled under an HMO system.  I, at least, understood the rules.

I don't get this system we are under now.  I think it is considered a PPO with HRA.  I don't know if it has anything to do with Obamacare or not....but, I do know that we pay a lot more in premiums.....we pay a lot more out of pocket.....and we get far less service and care.....than we did 3 years ago.

So, back to my original question.

How much would I have to pay you to look at me naked?  Keep in mind that I have no money I think I may just keep  myself under wraps for a while.

Embarrased smile