When the doc gave me a colonoscopy, EGD, etc. on April 6th 2011, he found and removed two polyps in my colon and eight in my stomach. He said the stomach ones were generally just a nuisance and that colon polyps tend to be a greater concern, since they are more likely to become cancerous. He did the colonoscopy because it had been five years since my last (at that time they discovered I have diverticulosis) and I have a family history of colon cancer. He wouldn’t have done an EGD (down the esophagus) this time, except that I’d been experiencing intense chest pain off and on for the past year and my family doctor had ruled out any heart problems (I passed a stress test with flying colors). In 2006, I’d been diagnosed with Barrett’s esophagus and prescribed Nexium, which was intended to alleviate symptoms and help me heal. But Nexium and Prilosec no longer work so well for me (hence the pain), so he also did an EGD on April 6th and discovered an increase in scar tissue in my esophagus. I got the sense that he was more concerned with this than with the polyps. He said that he’d done several biopsies while he was inside me and that we should have results in about two weeks.
When the two weeks were up, I called (I believe it was last Wednesday) to see if my results were in — but the doc and his staff were out of the office for the Easter holiday. So I waited til Monday (yesterday) and called again. A woman there checked my file and told me “all” my results were not yet in (I should’ve asked if “some” were) and someone would call me when they were and after the doctor had had a chance to review them.
Then today I received a bill in the mail. My procedure(s) had cost $7428. Since I went to a doctor whose facility has a contract with my insurance company (Medical Mutual of Ohio), they made a $4085.40 adjustment (in my favor) to the bill. Then they billed my (actually my wife’s) insurance, which paid $2755.38 of the balance, whereupon they sent me a bill for the remaining $587.22.
I find it darkly humorous they can bill an insurance company, get a payment from that company, and send me a bill for what’s left in less time than it takes to take a look at my biopsies and tell me whether it’s safe to sigh in relief and worry about how I’m gonna pay the bill instead of about whether I have cancer. Too bad the billing department doesn’t have a microscope and oncological expertise.