Wednesday, January 04, 2017

New Year's Challenges



Happy New Year folks! 

I have my first challenge of the new year. Yesterday I received the three (huge) bills that resulted from Bill's emergency room visit of December 1st.  Now the challenge to get the VA to pay for it.  

Bill doesn't have Medicare Part B.  Fortunately for us he's never needed it since he began Medicare at sixty-five years of age, twenty-three years ago.  Medicare Part B would cover the emergency room costs plus the ambulance cost. We got that bill yesterday too. 

The VA says they "may" pay for non-service related emergency room visits if eight conditions are met.  I won't relate all those conditions but Bill meets all of them.  

It's interesting all the bills one receives for an emergency room visit. A bill for anesthesia.  A billfor the emergency room doctor.  We have yet to receive the one for the emergency room services, which I expect today.  

I'm glad that I can navigate the system to take care of Bill.  He wouldn't be able to do it.  I wonder what other senior citizens who live alone handle something like this.  Those poor folks.  Not even senior citizens, how about a younger vet who has PST or other problems?  Our health care system is a challenge.

Sorry folks, not in the mood for one of my usually light and interesting blog posts.  I'm waiting for the billing department of the VA to call me back. I hope we get the resolved soon.  I hate something like this hanging over my head.


10 comments:

  1. I commiserate. In November, I had tax-supported Metro Fire Dpt. ambulance ride of 5 miles, for which the bill is $2300.00. Spent 6 hours in ER and 24 hours in ICU --at almost $1000 per hour. I'm content to mail these outrages back to Medicare and my medi-suppliment insurer until they decide what was "medically neccessary" and what wasn't. Not sure what they consider about a 1 a.m. call for help "medically necessary" or unnecessary --it's not something I'd ever done before. Best of luck sorting it out on your coast.

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    1. Geo.,
      Out medical system is atrocious. I just finished today straightening out a bunch of bills that should of have been sent to me. I'm lucky that I am here to navigate this medical billing nightmare for Bill. But I wonder what do old people do who don't have someone to do it for them? There was no way Bill could have done what I did today. I'm going to try and write a blog post about what I did today but I have to get this all straightened out in my head first so I don't bore my blog readers to death.
      Ron

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  2. "I wonder what other Senior Citizens who live alone handle something like this". Quite so, Ron. Bill is ever so lucky to have you, and I'm pretty sure he must be appreciating what you're doing for him.
    The prospect is a terrifying one which is growing for me daily, just as it must be for you if you are the one who is going to be left alone. When I was bed-ridden with flu just before Xmas my greatest concern was for my cats who still demanded to be fed several times a day, as well as my having to keep their litter trays clean - and there was no one here to do my shopping either. Your Bill has been really blessed with your presence - though knowing that doesn't make the execution of doing what needs to be done any easier.
    A happy 2017 to you too!

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    1. Ray,
      I spent the best part of this day navigating through all the bureaucratic mazes to straighten out the bills generated by Bill's medical emergency last month. Fortunately I was able to get the VA to pay the rest of the emergency room bills and the ambulance company to take back their bill. However I do have to pay the difference between the Medicare Part A for Bill's three day hospital stay. I am so glad I am here to do this for Bill. There was no way he could get through all what I spent hours this morning making phone calls and coordinating everything. Complicated even for me and I have experience with this kind of complicated paperwork. That was my career in banking (trust operations manager) in my previous life.
      I do wonder what will happen when I am old and alone, if I ever reach that state. Hopefully my Canadian sidekick (Patrick) will be with me. But he is in a foreign country and things get complicated. Should he move here and what about his health insurance then? Things to ponder.
      Ron

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    2. Sometimes thinking about the future and my fears for it makes my head hurt so much that I leave it for another day. :-(

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    3. Same here Ray!

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  3. Document and appeal. Everyone needs an advocate, there is a lifetime of volunteer service needed being advocates for Persons without close family or friends (I am writing an article on that issue.)

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    1. David,
      Oh I am documenting, something I learn from my banking career, thirty-seven years in trust operations eventually ending up as a manager. I wasn't always a hotel front desk clerk (smile). I am glad I can advocate for Bill. I got almost all of the bills cleared up. The VA is paying for two of them and the ambulance company took back their bill because I told them I am a subscriber, which they checked their records and found to be accurate. I do wonder though, what does an older person do who is alone and not accustomed to all this paper work navigation? I hope I can keep my wits about me if and when I reach that plateau.
      Ron

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  4. Ron,

    Being in the situation now where I will eventually need a caretaker and already being a caretaker for the person who logically should be mine, but will certainly not be able to do that is something of a concern too. We were at a three hour ALS clinic today and she could barely endure that. This may be a wose prospect than being along.

    Lar

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    1. I'm sorry to hear that Lar. However, you do have two daughters and a son and a daughter-in-law and even a grandson. I have no one. Hopefully Pat and I will be together then if I should reach a grand old age. We could take care of each other. Of course we have that Canadian/American thing to work out.
      Ron

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