Felt good to solve a vexing problem in short order. Got two numbers for actual dermatologists from the bright, efficient receptionist at my primary care doctor’s office, both in my plan. Within minutes I was making an appointment with one for next Thursday. The very reasonable, thorough, old-school receptionist told me I’d pay $150 by check for the visit, will be reimbursed if insured rate is lower. She told me exactly what referral form she needs faxed to her office. Got directions to the office, done.
Too easy, I realized. Obamacare is famous for not allowing things to happen this easily. After only ten or fifteen more minutes on hold with Empire Blue Cross, after paying my premium, I was speaking with an agent to verify that this doctor is in network. She only handles California and Nevada, it turns out, had no idea why my call was routed to her, since I live in NY and called the proper number on the back of my card.
She was good enough to go on-line, and after only a brief hold, inform me that this old school doctor is out of network. I will therefore be responsible for paying all undiscounted fees including any possible lab fees with no intervention from the private insurance company I pay my monthly premium to.
I run the other doctor’s name by her. Also, unfortunately, out of network. She directs me to the on-line list for dermatologists in my network. There are over a hundred other dermatologists I’ve never heard of, within five miles of me.
If you can, please, direct me to the shut the fuck up department, I was told it was on this floor.