This is giddy; deal with it. :-)
Regular readers know all about my awesome daughter, Lindsey deBronkart L’Ecuyer. The one I cheered on, in high school cross country.→ →
The one I walked down the aisle in 2009, when she married Jon.
←The one who ran her first Boston Marathon last spring, in near-record heat, and finished in the middle of the pack.
The one Ginny and I met up with (with Jon) when our vacations crossed paths last summer, in frickin’ Nice. France.→
(Their vacation was much more orchestrated than ours. In some ways she’s not at all like me.)
The one who’s now assistant cross country coach at Marblehead High School, where she’s a science teacher.→
My baby girl, all grown up and adult and functioning in the world. Swoon.
Well, she called me today, all proud and happy and said something good happened today. Something very E.
She’d decided to get a DNA test (she’s always been fascinated with DNA) to see if she could learn more about a particular condition that runs in the family. Having heard a few things (ahem) about the unpredictability of medical bills, she checked carefully to be sure that everything the hospital would charge would be covered by insurance. Yes.
Well, the bill arrived, and oops, the hospital work was covered, but the lab that did the work is out of network! A $320 bill! Grrr.
So, what does an empowered person do? Rather than blowing up, she first explained her situation to the insurance company.
And much to her amazement, they said “Oh! That’s okay, we’ll put it through as in-network.”
Yay, Harvard Pilgrim Healthcare! (Did you know my first blog post ever, five years ago, was Thank you, Harvard Pilgrim? They were my insurance company, back when I had a day job in Massachusetts, and throughout my illness they were terrific.)
I added, “You gotta let the hospital know, too – so they’re aware of the disconnect.” And she said “Yeah, I already left them a voicemail, requesting a call.”
There you have it: taking effective action, not just to address the immediate situation for yourself, but to help improve the system. (You listening, Mark Graban of Lean Hospitals fame?)
See folks, this is where the movement gets really good. I know I’m not the first parent to teach a kid consumer skills, or to teach being responsible in healthcare. But doesn’t it feel great when your kid gets it, internalizes it, and does it on her own?
Same as any other movement. We’re seeding a generation that thinks differently. I love it.
p.s. I am so happy to be alive.
Mighty Casey says
p.s. so are we
bev M.D. says
A great tribute to your daughter, Dave! But as a former lab director, this just points up to me the silo’s in hospitals – probably the hospital billing person she talked to had no idea that the hospital lab would send out this work, and thus incur a reference lab charge. So the patient has to be smarter than the hospital employees! But, kudos to Harvard Pilgrim; I have not seen that classy response out of an insurance company before.
(ps the hospital really should have eaten it for giving her bad information)
Sarah F says
I had a similar experience, but didn’t get as lucky. My doctor sent me for some blood work recently, to the lab right down the hall from their office (and affiliated with the local hospital, which is in-network). I have Anthem BCBS, and I have to go to specific labs (Quest or Labcorp) for the tests to be covered. Wish I’d known that beforehand–hello, $700 bill. I tried filing a formal grievance with the insurance company, and after 30+ days waiting for their decision, it was denied–big surprise. I SHOULD call my doctor’s office and let them know, though. You’re right–the disconnect is crazy. Lesson learned the hard way.
Way to go, Dave! Way to go, Lindsey! And Sarah F.: Don’t take no for an answer. Keep at them, take names, is what i say.