Monday, July 23, 2007

sucker punched

Alternate titles:

  • Infertility: The Gift That Keeps on Giving
  • How NOT to Keep Money in Your Savings Account
  • Bending Over: What They Don't Tell You About Lab Work
  • My Baby Sleeps in a Dresser Drawer Because We Had Nothing Left to Buy a Crib


Is it just me, or does no one really explain about the lab work fees? At my RE's office, I would regularly pay a fee for blood draws along with all the other procedure fees (ultrasounds, office visits, etc.) A few months after my initial appointment I began to get bills from Quest for my labs. They had been billed to my insurance and were usually partially covered, so they were never really extreme and I just paid them. It worked differently with my old RE at the ClinicFromHell, so at first, I had no idea that the bills were coming. Once the billing all caught up I got to know what to expect and it was no big deal.

When we began IVF, we knew we would not have insurance coverage.I worked out a deal with my doctor and we were able to get into a low-cost (ha!) program that made IVF accessible to us. I stockpiled stims in advance so that when I filled prescriptions for steroids, antibiotics, progesterone, needles, etc. they would be covered. I was labeled a "self-pay" patient and the (fabulous) billing lady made sure to only bill for services that would be covered and not raise any red flags. It was still expensive and I'm not ashamed to say that it wiped out most of our savings.
Still, we were very lucky. We were lucky to have a doctor work with us, we were lucky to respond to stims that I was able to gather in advance, we were lucky to have any savings to begin with, we were lucky that it worked.

I'm still paying for my February/March bloodwork. The bills seem to trickle in and they've all been manageable so far. At the time, since I had worked out a fee for my RE, I didn't realize that I was still on the hook for the blood, but I am and that's just the way it goes. Not exactly how I understood, but in this case, that's probably my fault and not the end of the world.

Of course, now, in JULY, we just got a huge lab bill for P. His JANUARY pre-IVF blood screens were not covered services. Apparently, this was also not a part of the package fee that the doctor explained. Naturally, P's labs were denied by insurance (and honestly, if I had really understood what they were doing at the time I would have known that they weren't covered, so it's not like they're the bad guys - other than not providing the coverage in the first place, of course.) So we're legitimately on the hook for this bill and it sucks.

Some of you are probably rolling your eyes because, really, what's another grand? I know. I swear, I do. I'd pay that and more to have this baby, but I do feel like I've been sucker punched. I didn't see this one coming at all.

I really wanted to donate my leftover meds, but now I'm considering charging a small fee for them. I feel guilty doing this, and I know it wouldn't make a dent in this bill, but money is starting to stress me out (to the point I've considered revising my NEVER AGAIN policy on yard sales!)


Sarah said...

that totally sucks. it really adds up, and i would not have been happy to get a surprise like that. not to mention all the baby related stuff you're going to have to start paying for.

i think asking a small fee for your meds is fine. when i passed mine along, people offered me money for them, and when i declined it one person sent me something anyway. people want to help out and appreciate whatever you can contribute.

Irish Girl said...

That really sucks. Not. Fair.

Angie said...

So expensive, it sucks. I caught up on your previous post about movement. Roo has busy days and slow days, and it's hard on those slow days to not get worried. Good to hear from you!

Furrow said...

Ooooh, so uncool. We got one of those surprise bills about 2 months after our last IUI, which had to be performed at the fertility clinic rather than with my regular nurse practitioner. And this was after they convinced us that our insurance would cover it. Luckily, our interaction with that clinic was minimal.

Thanks for letting me know that your blog is HP safe. I'm trying to hurry through the book so that I can stop being paranoid, but work and life keeps getting in the way.

Stephanie said...

to one uninsured to another...IF treatment cost suck! But we do what we can do. I wouldn't feel bad charging a fee for you meds. It is still a great savings for someone.