Insurance Woes

I have often wondered how people with no insurance survive a serious illness. Now, I’m beginning to wonder how people who do have insurance can survive a serious illness.

Last week, I had a small surgical procedure to determine if the bladder needed to be removed or not. Yesterday, I got an email from Aetna saying there was a response on a new claim. When I opened the site, there was a flag by the claim saying that additional information was required. When I clicked on that link, there was no description of an requested information, just a statement that, of the $19,768.45 billed by the provider, Aetna would pay $0, and I would pay the remaining $19,768.45.

Why have I been paying ever more expensive premiums?

Cancer

In March, I started to notice blood in my urine. At Sheri’s insistence, I made an appointment to see our family doctor. After waiting two weeks for approval from the insurance company, I was referred to a urologist, Dr. Archer in Oklahoma City. After another two weeks of waiting for approval, the urologist performed a procedure to see if anything was wrong with the bladder. He noticed tumors, and diagnosed it as an invasive bladder cancer.

He then referred me to Dr. Stratton at the Stephenson Cancer Center at OU. Dr. Stratton scheduled the same procedure, since Dr. Archer was not able to go very deep. He told us that the treatment options were dependent on the depth of the tumor. If the tumor extended into the muscle, then the only option is to remove the bladder. If not, then the cancer is treated with BCG, the vaccine for tuberculosis.

The results were good – I do not now need to have the bladder removed, and I have been admitted to a clinical trial of BCG. My first treatment is on Thursday, June 6.