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Another health care rant

As I have ranted and rambled about before, Brian has rather crappy insurance, which I unfortunately had to get on at the beginning of the year because we could not afford paying the monthly Cobra payment. But, as I learned in econ or some other class, "opportunity costs" or something like that. So to save several hundred dollars a month for the right (er, privilege) to have insurance, we have to hope we don't need much of it. If one of us gets sick, well, then, it may have made more sense to pay more money monthly.

When I went to my annual day of torture on Friday (i.e., the gynecologist), I was surprised that my copay was $25. On my insurance card, there is a line for Office Visit Copayment, for $15, and there is another line for Specialist Office Visit Copayment, for $25. There is nothing special about going to the gynecologist. It is something that I am pretty sure women should do yearly once they become "grownups" or younger, if they start doing the horizontal mambo (I know, I am so 12 years old). I realize that there is only a $10 difference between the regular and special office visit, but it is the principal as much as it is the extra cost.

I hate going to the gyno. During the prying open part, the doctor always asks if I am okay, because my whole body tenses, my blood pressure skyrockets, and I pretty much liken the pain to labor, though it is a lot shorter, fortunately. The first time I went to the gyno, I swore I would never do the deed again; it just was not worth it. Now that I am married and pretty sure I am done procreating, well, that idea is looking better and better. Just kidding, Brian. Mostly.

But seriously. Doesn't this seem a little wrong? Why is it considered a special office visit? Way to discourage women from preventative health care.



Sherri said…
That is bizarre. Don't know if you remember, but... I did a healthcare rant a while back - mostly irritated by how the doctors just don't seem to listen (this was my first visit back without many post-partum issues, so... back to biz as usual - i.e. no pregnancy stuff, and.... the care was just so bad). Anyway, this seems odd as some gynos will often act as a PCP or will be considered as such at some insurance companies (ours) due to the fact that they do bloodwork and other basic tests that women need - will write scripts for additional stuff if you ask them. I would call "someone" about this before you do need something routine and end up getting charged too much for it.
Facie said…
Oh, I remember, Sherrie. I did end up going back to the dreaded doc, by the way. She seemed so much more "on" this time. She even asked/confirmed that I was not having any more kids, something she must have actually written down last time and looked at this time (or maybe she just figured with a seven year old it was not going to happen!).

I called my health insurance, and the CSR said that only family doctor visits are considered regular office visits. I said, "So I guess I should stop seeing my gyne and just go to a PCP every year." Of course, she said that would be up to me. But she did say that anything that happened during that exam, including routine testing (there is some test you get every three years), s/b covered. We will see.
Anonymous said…
The gynecologist is considered a specialist b/c they are a specialist. They had additional years of specialized training to do what they do. Doesn't matter what you see them for, it's based on their level of expertise. Many women use them for primary care but they are still specialists. Some insurance companies will not charge you anything for preventative care - you should look into that when you pick your insurance for next year. Also, many primary care practices have a MD, NP, or PA that does routine gyne exams if you don't want the higher copay.
Facie said…
Anon, fair enough; I see your point. But it does not change the way I feel. Women should be seeing their gyne yearly, and it seems somewhat sexist and for sure a crying shame that I have to pay more for that. I realize it is just this particular insurance, but surely it is not the only one.

Oh, and thanks for your suggestion about having a PA or MD do a routine exam; I have been looking to leave my practice for years.
chris h. said…
I just went to my gyno a couple weeks ago. I have different insurance now, so I don't have a co-pay and I actually get better coverage now than when I was paying for my expensive HMO plan. I used to pay the $15 specialist copay instead of the $10 regular copay. This time I only owe $10 (because my plan pays 90% and I pay 10%, which turned out to be $10). Crazy. The new plan saves me over $260 a's a godsend so far. Plus it made me eligible to open a tax-deductible Health Savings Account. I just pray Obamacare doesn't ruin it.

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