The joys of an HMO

Monday, January 08, 2007

*Warning- This post may make the guys out there a little uncomfortable- it’s about girly-parts; or more specifically seeing a girly-parts doctor when you’re covered by a shitty HMO.

So last week was time for my dreaded annual exam. Lucky for me, I’m covered under the wonderful Kaiser Permanente, so I knew they’d take good care of me. I called to make my appointment about two weeks ago, and requested a female doctor (sorry guys, I just feel more comfortable going to a woman). Hmmm….no appointments until February. So, I ended up making the appointment with a male doctor. Do I know my gyno? No, because in the wonderful land of Kaiser, doctors come and go way too often for you to have the same doctor twice.

Well, it has become painfully clear that Kaiser is most certainly a large corporation, who’s only concern in profit. I am just imagining some of their big decision-making meetings: “How can we save/make more money? Well, I don’t think women feel exposed enough when they visit us, so instead of those cheap paper gowns, let’s switch to even cheaper paper shirts. That 2 feet of thin paper that covers their asses is a whopping $1 more per case. As an added bonus, female patients will have to sit there, with their asses exposed to the door (because the table always backs to the door) while waiting 2 hours for their doctor. Why are they waiting 2 hours for their doctor? Well, because we are going to start scheduling appointments in 10-minute increments. After all, it shouldn’t take long for them to do the full exam, especially because our patients shouldn’t be asking questions. They should take the birth control that we give them (whichever drug company pays us more that month), and be quiet. And if she wants some form of non-hormonal option like an IUD? Well, then we need to jack up that co-pay as high as possible, say $250 to discourage this. We need to do everything possible to encourage them to use archaic drugs- push that Ortho Tri-Cyclen!! If she has had a bad reaction to hormones? So what! Take them anyways! And if she starts asking about something for mood swings? Paxil or Prozac. So what if she would prefer something in another drug family, like Wellbutrin. We don’t care what she wants.” I could go on and on and on. I think you get the point.

It’s just a damn good thing my gyno was a pretty good-looking guy in his 30’s, instead of the old Pakistani man that I got last time.


Velvet 1/08/2007 04:31:00 PM  

Yes. Once I had an HMO and unfortunately got Kidney Stones. It was like a FUCKING ACT OF GOD to get a referral to a urologist. Assholes. I'll never work anywhere that has an HMO as it's exclusive option.

E :) 1/08/2007 06:07:00 PM  

That sucks. Ugh. We're so lucky in Australia that our health funds do not restrict our choice of doctors. I just don't get the American system at all.

KassyK 1/08/2007 06:23:00 PM  

SO sorry. That is AWFUL. I have a PPO now and pay the extra money just to be able to go to my dr. of choice. Its not that much extra a month and when I was given the option I jumped at it. Fucking HMOS.

Anonymous,  1/08/2007 06:32:00 PM  

I've never signed up for an HMO for the same reasons you mentioned... well, not the girly-specific ones, but all the other stuff =:-)

I have a PPO... I pay way, way more out of pocket, but it (usually) does what I need it to do.

Tara 1/08/2007 07:31:00 PM  

Next time I go in for one of those lovely appointments, I'll have a totally new gyno, but I think it's a woman. The male doctor I had was really professional and quick, as was the guy I saw last year who shares the same office. They have both left and this new lady is taking over.

Carrie M 1/08/2007 08:07:00 PM  

that's ridiculous, ash.

Anonymous,  1/08/2007 09:00:00 PM  

I think that it also depends on the doctor. I have only had one time where the HMO wouldn't pay for a prescribed prescription and made me try a generic first.
My doctor is great, doesn't take shit from the HMC and they are REALLY generous with the samples.
I had to have a mammogram last year because I found a lump in my breast. Everything was taken care of and I didn't have to do anything.
I have United Healthcare this year. Last year I had something else. The fact that they change it all the time is my biggest issue because I don't know how they are going to do things.

Anonymous,  1/08/2007 09:41:00 PM  

Oh thank God I've never had to go the HMO route. I'm lucky that with my PPO I never have to get a referral, my co-pay is only $15 and most doctors participate in my insurance plan.

Why can't we come up with a healthcare system that makes sense?

Anonymous,  1/08/2007 11:54:00 PM  

Well, it's just because I'm a health instructor (pe teacher too) but I'm not bothered listening/talking about 'girlie-girl' stuff.

Meanwhile, sorry about your situation. We all know you're tough enough to make it through though.

Keep the faith =) and good luck!

The Husband 1/09/2007 05:15:00 PM  

you can blame the democrats for the shitty health care....just kidding!

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