Sunday, October 1, 2017

Suunday Stroke Survival: News and Insurance Woes

I finally heard from my neurologist about getting an appointment at the Shepherd Center!!!
(Whistling and one-handed clapping)

That's the good news.
(CLUNK! The other shoe dropping)

The bad news is that they are not taking any new patients. My neurologist's office will have to call back in October or November to see if there is an opening. So I;m still waiting. But I do have a toe in the door. Sort of. With Shepherd's being one of the top spinal/brain centers on the east coast, a waiting list is to be expected. The last time I was there a couple dozen years ago, I had an 'in' (leverage). I was a spinal trauma, life flight nurse with a severe injury and they had an experimental surgery. I had doctors pulling for me. That's not the case now. Now, I'm an old (five years post stroke) stroke survivor looking for options. I understand the difference, even though I'm the same patient.

The odds of getting into the Center and having something done before the end of the calendar year is looking pretty slim. Why the push? Well deductibles for one. I've gone round and round with my medical insurance program since my Medicare kicked in back in July. Yes, my insurance is cheaper by $30 a month. My Blue Cross/Blue Shield is now my secondary insurance. They've got divisions called Pre-65 and regular medicare. It shouldn't matter, right? Medicare is Medicare and my BCBS is secondary. But because I'm not 65, by a couple of years, they only reduce my premiums by $30 instead of 66% (100 a month versus 300 a month) like at 65. It's a racket, right? Who besides me, thinks this?

I'd shop for a different policy, if it wasn't mixed up with my retirement pension. It's also terrific insurance that has a maximum out of pocket and a low yearly deductible. Yeah, I'm just griping here because there is nothing I can do about it. With my Medicare, the chances of my hitting my yearly BCBS maximum out of pocket expense ever again is nil. Which is a good thing, but a bad thing when you compare the benefits of the BCBS policy. I can foresee me spending close to the maximum each year without actually crossing the threshold each year.

I guess I've got a choice to make. Either to wait in Shepherd Center or find another neurosurgeon. The bad thing about my move to north Georgia is that I know no one that includes doctors. My years of experience and tracks records means nothing. I'm starting from scratch. Wish me luck.

Nothing is impossible.


  1. How I hate (and love) insurance! {{{{{hugs}}}}}

  2. That's typical of so many policies. The deductible is just high enough, you'll just barely hit it. Maybe. And yet you really don't want to go over either.

  3. Good luck! I know you always say "Nothing is impossible" but -- ah -- when talking about dealing with insurance companies/Medicare -- it seems the phrase is more likely to be "Nothing is possible". Been there! Do wish you luck!!! You are in the thoughts and prayers. Take care.


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