Thursday, September 23, 2010

Only in America...

Today, The Boy had football practice. While they were doing their warm-ups, The Boy's neck went stiff. It was pretty bad; he could not raise his head up level, and I could *see* how tight the muscle was. You really could have bounced a coin off that puppy! I've tweaked my neck before, but never so badly that I really couldn't move it at all. It scared the crap out of The Boy, which, in turn, got him completely worked up. The more upset he got, the stiffer he became. I tried to get him to relax, but he couldn't. I called our neighbor, who happens to be a nurse, and then decided a quick trip to the urgent care doctor couldn't hurt.

By now, The Boy is starting to calm down and is reasonable. He isn't sure he wants to go to any doctor because he does not want a shot. That being said, he really wanted the pain to go away! (Luckily, his helmet was not on when he got hurt, but taking off the shoulder pads was not fun!) We walked into the urgent care clinic and were about to fill out the paperwork when the woman tells me they don't exactly take our insurance.

What? What do you mean "not exactly"?

It turns out, they *do* have a doctor on staff who takes our insurance, but not our level; he hasn't been "trained" in our level of care yet.

What? WTH does THAT mean? Medical care is medical would assume (and there is the mistake, I guess) that each patient would be medically treated equally and that there wouldn't be different levels of care based on a patent's insurance.

I was told The Boy *could* be seen, but we'd have to pay out of pocket and that fee started just under $150. If there were any tests run or x-rays or anything else (to include medication, etc) it would all be extra.

Now, I would like to interject here that if I had gone directly to the ER (as I've done before), there would be NO out of pocket expense. My insurance (which, btw, is pretty good insurance, even if it *is* a PITA some days) is really good insurance. So I put this question to the nurse at the urgent care. I asked if she thought it made sense that, for us, it would actually be cheaper to go to the ER (which bills at a higher rate) than to go to this urgent care facility. She simply looked at me as though I'd suddenly sprouted an arm from my forehead.

I walked The Boy back to the car and headed for the hospital. By the time we got there, The Boy had managed to calm himself so much he was able to move his head quite a bit. We chatted with a nurse for a bit and decided to come home. The Boy iced his neck and took some ibuprofen. He is resting now...he's got a big game on Saturday!


  1. Poor Boy! And poor you, how scary! Glad it turned out ok and kudos to you for not having a freak out at the walk-in. Did you sing the song? he he he

  2. Don't even get me started! We had that issue when our little man broke his foot. The doctor and his office was covered but the surgery center (which was the site he used) was not. In the end the surgery center discounted and wrote off quite a bit but the whole thing still cost us over 2K out of pocket. Messed up if you ask me.


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