Finances & Money

And the doctor’s prognosis is…

a herniated disk! I was able to get an appointment with an orthopedist this morning, thanks to my doctor “going the extra mile” and calling around for me. I put that in quotes because it’s something I would expect a doctor to do back home in PA, but not here. There’s just too many people and not enough doctors here, and they can’t be bothered with doing extra things for patients.

Too bad we’re changing primary physicians next year. Our doctor is an internal specialist, and the new copays will be $40, while they’re $20 right now. We’re going with a general physician in the new year, and those copays will be $20.

I was in and out of the orthopedist’s office in less than an hour (parking was free the first hour), and during that time I got 3 xrays of my back. The doctor diagnosed me with a slipped disk and prescribed me some percocet and some anti-inflammatory medicine. He also gave me a corset to wear, and although it sounds funny for a guy to wear one, it just looks like a back brace you see warehouse workers wear (without the shoulder straps).

Lastly, I will be going in for rehabilitation. I can go to that office or choose another place. Stacie went to a doctor nearby for her knee this year and recommends him, so I might choose him instead.

So what’s the financial impact of all this? Well, here’s why I had an extra sense of urgency. I alluded to this already in my earlier post, but since we’re changing medical plans in the new year to lower coverage (90% with copays, a deductible and out of pocket max versus 100% with only copays), I wanted to get to the doctor before year-end, in case I needed an MRI. Heck, even x-rays are expensive.

So in the end, this whole thing cost me $60. That’s $20 copay for my doctor, $20 for the orthopedist and $10 each for the prescriptions (I asked for generics, which saved me $60). Everything else is billed to my insurance. Had this been next year, I could expect costs in the hundreds. However, I’ll still be going back in 3 weeks for a checkup, and I’ll have rehab costs, whatever those will be.

Oh yeah, don’t worry about me getting addicted to oxycodone (the generic form of percocet). I’ve had it before and I’ve been fine. I’m actually very resistant to addictions for some reason (smoking, drinking, drugs). My only vice is chocolate chip cookies 🙂

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Clever Dude


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