Nature is Affordable Healthcare: Living with a broken system and a broken body.

Nature has been my medicine…. to an extent. It eases my depression when the darkness sets in. It gives me a place to exert my energy and keep fit as I hike 5 miles through the forests and mountains. The woods provide inspiration and awe.

Nature is affordable healthcare.

Despite this I still have to go to doctors regularly.

  • Oncologist — to get a yearly prescription of drugs to hopefully stave off a cancer (that’s just one type!) that wouldn’t even resurface for another possibly 7-10 years.
  • Radiologist — to get a mammogram that’s not even covered because it’s considered diagnostic rather than annual due to previous said cancer. (Don’t let them lie to you, preexisting conditions is still a thing, the medical/insurance field just codes it differently.)
  • Gynecologist — to make sure I don’t have any cancer growing in nether regions due to family history and some previous scares.
  • General Practitioner – for all other ailments. Honestly, I’m just keeping this one on stand-by. I’d rather fight 4 weeks with an upper respiratory infection than add on to my ever growing medical bills.
  • Optometrist — I’m blind as a bat. Occasionally it gets worse and I need an updated prescription.

All of the above adds up to headache and heartbreak. I supposedly have good insurance through work. As many people in this country currently either can’t afford insurance or are worried about how they will continue to keep it, I am lucky to have it. That said, it can be an unholy pain in the ass horror at the same time.

The headache

Here’s a scenario – I go to one of the many doctors above. Prior to going in, I make sure that the doctor and initial purpose for going in is pre-approved by insurance, the doctor’s office, and insurance confirm – yes, it is. Weeks or months after the visit or procedure, I am sent a deluge of medical bills stating that certain items aren’t covered and I owe several hundred dollars. Here’s where the headache begins.

I then I have to call back and forth with the doctor’s office, the insurance company, and hospital billing to try to get things fixed. More than likely the bill won’t be adjusted and I will have to start a payment plan to add to the many other bills I already have.

The heartbreak

For starters, I feel horrible for becoming a financial burden to me and my husband. He didn’t sign up for this. Hell, I didn’t sign up for this. In addition to that, I’m just constantly reminded that although I take pretty good care of my body, it is still rebelling. Every few years something pops up to remind me that it is slowly dying. All of us are really, but not all of us are reminded as our cells mutate and change to possibly become cancerous. It can take months or it can take years for anything really horrible to come to light.

The process

A few words of advice should you find yourself in need of some serious medical attention. Try to get everything pre-approved. I’m not just talking about the doctor or procedure. Make sure the medical facility is covered. If the doctor wants to do lab work, don’t let them until you know your insurance will cover it. And when I say make sure it’s pre-approved, I mean bluntly ask if they will be paying for it. I’ve made some rookie mistakes in the past year. I was told things were pre-approved only to learn that they were being thrown at my deductible — that tally of payments that once they hit a certain number, you won’t have to pay for it. Something I will probably never hit, nor should anyone want to have to get to.

In addition to getting things pre-approved, document everything. It still won’t help. Calls, dates, names… it won’t help a damn thing. You are dealing with separate entities that refuse to talk to one another. It’s your word against theirs and dammit they all want their money.

Check your bill before you wreck yourself. In the past I’ve had items that were supposedly not covered by insurance. It turns out that someone just coded them wrong and it needs to be resubmitted with the right code. This is a shining light, but one that can be a pain, because again, different offices don’t want to talk to one another.

Even more fun is when you move to a new state (like I have) and they repeatedly submit your things under the totally wrong insurance. I have a PPO, yet for my last mammogram, it was submitted as Medicare. MEDICARE. One half was submitted under the correct insurance while the other was submitted under 70-year old Billy Rose Jean May Hiccup’s insurance. I don’t, now I’m just making up a name and age, but seriously. How does one screw that up so bad?!

Making a choice – nature or modern medicine

I’m not sharing all of this as a pity party. Many people I know have not had to go through this sort of mess, and that is wonderful. I wouldn’t wish it upon anyone. However, there are plenty of people in the world that have had to go through medical and insurance troubles that were ten-fold compared to my ongoing saga.

I’m going to state the obvious here…

Obtaining medical treatment should not be this hard.

It just shouldn’t. And there’s no one party to blame. It’s not just the fault of:

  • the government
  • the insurance agencies
  • the medical companies
  • the doctors
  • the medical facilities
  • the people

It’s a culmination. On top of that our society and western world culture has driven us into this hole. We think that we need all of this medical care. But do we really?

Medical advances didn’t really start picking up until the 1900s (maybe 1800s? I’m not doing the research right now.) Prior to that people relied on folk medicine and natural remedies. There are still people and cultures that do. And guess what…. they worked. People lived out their lives. Perhaps they didn’t all live to be 80 or 90, but they freaking LIVED.

They didn’t worry about bills, pills, and insurance agencies. They didn’t have a barrage of tests just to make sure things weren’t growing or their heart was beating properly or their own PH balances were ok.

The people before us relied on their guts (literally and figuratively). They found peace in the great outdoors, and that’s where they found their medicine. Plants and herbs, fresh water, healthy food… At the end of the day, you either lived with less concern over the medical world, or you died a little happier not having the looming weight of the non-existing insurance and medical system.

I’ve declared numerous times to my family: “I’m done. I’m not going to doctors anymore. It’s not worth it.” Do I want to live a long, healthy life? Yes. But I want to live it on my conditions. Calm and unburdened and without the reminder that my body hates me. The medical field of today cannot give me that.

Perhaps it’s time to actually own those words and let nature take over.

 

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