So I have excellent health insurance. Seriously. Our hospital bill from Shmooie's delivery? $0. It will be the same for Polly-roo's, I believe. (We got one of those panic-inducing "explanation of benefits" saying we're responsible in full for the $47,000 6-day NICU bill, but that's being resolved.) So I know I'm lucky.
But the primary-care, referral stuff is bureaucratic bullshit. My 6-week postpartum OB appointment is tomorrow, and I got it in my head that I might be able to get an IUD inserted at the same time. So I called the OB clinic. They told me my insurance doesn't cover IUDs and that it would be $700ish. (And I think to myself: would my insurance company rather I get pregnant again? I don't think so.) I shelved that idea, but then was perusing my coverage paperwork, which said IUDs are covered, but under the prescription drug plan. So I called the prescription drug plan folks. The customer service woman asked me for the "name of the medication" and whether I'd ever been on it before. I went round and round to get her to understand what an IUD is. She then told me that it's covered, but that I'd have to check with the pharmacy for specific coverage and to see which ones are available.
So I called the OB office again and the billing woman told me that I will have to get the IUD at the pharmacy, bring it to the appointment, and then pay a $213 insertion fee. None of this sounded right to me, but I went ahead and called the pharmacy.
Sure enough, the pharmacy said they don't do it that way. That the doctor's office arranges for it. I briefly considered calling the OB office again, but I doubt I'd be able to get a straight answer over the phone. So I'll just have to go to the appointment tomorrow, talk to the doctor, probably set up another appointment (after getting a referral from my primary care physician), and pay $213 (which is not so bad since the IUD is effective for 10 years).
Thank god I'm on leave and have copious free time for phone calls. All this has me feeling a bit nostalgic for the Bulgarian medical system.
On a related note, I'm reading Catch-22 for NaNoReMo 2007.