Anybody who tells you that cataract surgery is stress free and routine – those people are full of beans.
And I’ll explain why.
Last week, in preparation for the surgery, I received a phone call from the surgery center. “Everything’s all set, Mr. Miller, but please be aware that although you have health coverage, you do have a $100 copay.”
I understood. I had a $100 copay last month when my right eye underwent surgery, so I’m okay there.
Monday morning. I’m ready. I’m in a good mood. A little nervous, but not as nervous as the first time.
Limo service arrives to pick me up and take me to the surgery center.
I arrive. I hand the receptionist my insurance card, my driver’s license, and my credit card.
“Everything’s fine, Mr. Miller, and will you be paying the $700 up front?”
Wait a second – did you say $700?
“Yes sir, I’ll just swipe your card now – ”
Wait, no no no, wait, you’re mistaken, I was told I only had a $100 copay.
“No, sir, it’s $700.”
An orderly came out and called my name. It’s time for surgery.
“Please confirm this. I was told $100 for my copay.”
Ten minutes later, after she went to talk to her supervisor – who apparently was on the phone and was not happy at being interrupted – she brought out a piece of paper.
“You have a $600 deductible from your insurance company, in addition to the $100 for today.”
And that noise you hear – after she swiped my card and made me $700 lighter – was my heart rate racing faster than a Devo drum track.
I went with the orderly to the waiting area. A nurse took my blood pressure. “It’s very high. We need you to relax.”
All I could keep thinking about was … thank God I had that additional money in my account, or else I would have had to postpone my surgery until who knows how long?
The anesthesiologist inserted a tube in my hand, and before long the sweet menthol scent of anesthetics oozed through my circulatory system.
And just like that …. I was on my way home, a plastic shield taped over my left eye.
But all I could think of was … what the hell just happened?
After I took a nap to de-mentholize myself … I called my health insurance provider.
“Oh yes, Mr. Miller, at the beginning of a new year, you have a $600 surgical deductible before any surgery is achieved.”
Ugh and double ugh.
And all I could think about was … what if I had the surgery two weeks earlier? Right around Christmastime? I wouldn’t have been tagged with that additional $600.
But by the same token – I also invested $750 per eye in astigmatism correcting toric insert lenses. So I’m already spending money as it goes.
Oh well, at least I’ll get a fat tax return once I file my Federal tax returns …
Oh wait. The IRS isn’t issuing any tax returns until this current government shutdown ends.
And there goes my blood pressure, up in the air again…