Topic: My job changed my insurance mid treatment

Forum: Employment, Insurance, and Other Financial Issues — Employment, insurance, and financial concerns are common. Meet others here to discuss and for support.

Posted on: Mar 12, 2011 04:31PM

Posted on: Mar 12, 2011 04:31PM

martiparty wrote:

I had bilateral mastectomies on Dec 20th.  At the time of my surgery they started my reconstruction by putting in expanders.  On Jan 1st, my employer changed my insurance carrier.  My plastic surgeon is not a provider with the new insurance.  Now I need $2500 to switch out the expanders for implants.  I am broke, really.  I am in collections already with my hospital bills.  It is overwhelming.  I hope I can even go back to the hospital since I am in collections.  The collection agency called me & I told them the truth.  I can only pay about $20 a month on each of the bills (there are 3 of them).  Plus, I am paying of anesthesia bills and other lab bills, etc.  I can only make small payments.  The collection agency said it will still go on my credit report even though I am making payments.  I just said "Fine, that's all I can do" and slammed the phone down.  It is very depressing and discouraging to have no money at my age (46).  Guess I am just complaining.  There's not much I can do.  How long can I keep expanders in?  They are very uncomfortable & I hear that implants feel better.

Dx 10/1/2010, DCIS, 1cm, Stage 0, Grade 3, 0/5 nodes
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Mar 12, 2011 06:33PM AnneW wrote:

Is there no one in-network for you who can finish the job? I would not think that this is an unusual occurence.

I'm so sorry you're having issues with finances and paying medical bills. This is when I usually start shouting out for Universal Health Care, but I'll leave it off. That doesn't help you right now.

Hang in there, and just do what you can when you can.

2002 IDC stage 1, grade 1, rads & AI Dx 9/18/2007, ILC, <1cm, Stage I, Grade 1, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Mar 12, 2011 06:43PM jenn3 wrote:

Check with your in-network providers or call the insurance company to see if you can do something based on "special circumstances" because you were already in treatment when this happened.  Also, go to your HR Dept and talk to your benefits coordinator to see if they can offer some assistance.

As for the bills, medical bills on your credit report really don't ding it that much.  As long as you're making an effort to pay the bill @ $10 or $20/month and you make the payments you'll be fine.  Don't let them convince you to pay it with a credit card or take out a loan, make your monthly payments and leave it at that - there is nothing you can do. 

Jenn - June 2009 IDC-TN, Stage III, 02/2011 Stage IV mets to the lungs & spine / Laugh until your belly hurts, then laugh some more...........
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Mar 12, 2011 08:26PM lago wrote:

I would also talk with the original plastic surgeon.You might be able to negotiate something.

Even if his/her costs aren't covered will the facility s/he uses be in network. The surgeon's cost is minimal compared to everything else. My PS is out of network but the facility isn't. My old insurance (cobra) covered 70% for out of network.The high risk pool insurances I'm on covers 60% for out of network. I start a new insurance in April. It will be interesting to see what they cover for out of network.

DONE!! • Tattoos 2.7.2012 • Nipples 10.6.2011 • Exchange 6.24.2011 • Chemo 1.18. 2011 • BMX 8.31.2010 Dx 7/13/2010, IDC, 5cm, Stage IIB, Grade 3, 0/14 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Mar 12, 2011 08:34PM mrsnjband wrote:

Don't let the "collecdtions" people freak you out.  A lot of the times they say those things just to scare you. In most states, as long as you are paying on a bill they can't do anything to you.  After dealing with these "collections" people, I no longer pay money to them, I pay the money to 'whomever' I owe the money to!  That makes them really mad but there is nothing they can do about it!!! 

My HD has 10 accounts from all of his CT scans from his cancer.  We pay them $10.00 a month, that all. They have finally given up on calling.  I made an excell sheet on each account with the check number & date of the month and send a print out of each account.  They actually have someone who checks them over & sends me corrections when I make mistakes. 

So don't let them stress you out.  Do what ever you need to do to get well. 

Sending love & support. NJ

Norma June, Bi-lateral MX 2008, Bi-lateral DIEP 2011 Dx 1/10/2008, IBC, <1cm, Stage IIIB, ER-/PR-, HER2- Chemotherapy 1/25/2008 AC Chemotherapy 3/10/2008 Taxol (paclitaxel) Chemotherapy 5/29/2008 Taxotere (docetaxel) Surgery 7/10/2008 Lymph node removal: Right; Mastectomy: Right; Prophylactic mastectomy: Left Radiation Therapy 8/11/2008 Surgery 8/15/2011 Reconstruction (right): DIEP flap Surgery 8/15/2011 Reconstruction (left): DIEP flap Surgery 12/12/2011 Reconstruction (left)
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Mar 12, 2011 10:10PM jdootoo wrote:

While I was going through  chemo, my insurance company was in negotiations with the hospital I was going to and all of my physicians. When I called to talk with someone at the insurance company, I was told I would have to switch hospitals. That wasn't working for me so I made a bunch of calls to the hospital, insurance company, etc.    Basically, there have been many laws passed that protect breast cancer survivors. Call the Attorney General in your area or an insurance advocate and find out what your rights are. I am almost positive that they cannot switch doctors on you at this point.   My insurance company ended up settling their dispute, but i was told that I would have been able to remain with my original treatment plan.   Hope this helps... you do not need these headaches at this time.
One love, Jackie 
There's a natural mystic blowing through the air; If you listen carefully now you will hear. This could be the first trumpet, might as well be the last: Many more will have to suffer, Many more will have to die - don't ask me why. -- Bob Marley Dx 1/29/2010, IDC, 3cm, Stage IIIA, Grade 3, 6/7 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2+
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Mar 13, 2011 12:23PM martiparty wrote:

Thank you for all your replies.  I see my plastic surgeon Tuesday.  I will ask them what can be done.  I am happy with his work & don't want to have to change doctors at this point.  I'll have to do some research.

Dx 10/1/2010, DCIS, 1cm, Stage 0, Grade 3, 0/5 nodes
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Mar 13, 2011 08:34PM - edited Mar 25, 2011 06:31PM by MondaysChild

Who is your plastic surgeon that is no longer in network and what hospital were you at before? I am from Tampa also and may be able to come up with some ideas of who could follow your prior surgeon. Some have working relationships and can easily follow each other's work.

Dx 10/15/2010, IDC, Left, 2cm, Stage IIA, Grade 2, 1/11 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 11/23/2010 Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Left, Underarm/Axillary Surgery 12/9/2010 Mastectomy: Left, Right; Reconstruction (left); Reconstruction (right) Chemotherapy 1/27/2011 AC Chemotherapy 4/21/2011 Taxol (paclitaxel) Hormonal Therapy 9/1/2011 Femara (letrozole) Dx 2/4/2016, Stage IV, metastasized to lungs, Grade 2, ER+/PR+, HER2- Hormonal Therapy 2/11/2016 Faslodex (fulvestrant)
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Mar 13, 2011 08:39PM AnnaM wrote:

I agree with Jackie, there are laws that protect women who are going through treatment for breast cancer, and those laws cover reconstruction. Please check with the AG in your state and if that doesn't bring some kind of answer, please see if your local hospital has a social worker on staff. Social workers can really help find answers, and if those answers aren't helpful, they can also find other ways to work things out.

Good luck! 

Bilat. MX + DIEP 9/2005, 0/9 nodes and 2/2 nodes; IDC, <1cm, Stage IIa, Grade 3, ER-/PR-, HER2+; 4x A/C, 4x Taxol and 1 yr. weekly Herceptin
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Mar 13, 2011 08:49PM Shrek4 wrote:

martiparty, please do check these organizations, they might help you paying the bills. they will require some paperwork to be signed, but they will help. 

I know the first one I had called (forgot now which one) when I was afraid I wouldn't be able to pay premium AND co-pay while I was on BCBS was getting ready to send me money, but in the meanwhile I qualified for our State's program for BC patients so I did all my treatments through them.

I wish you good luck with all my heart.

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Mar 13, 2011 11:10PM martiparty wrote:

Thank you so much.  I will check all of these options.  Tampa asked who my PS is.  My PS is Dr. Henry Redmon and I went to St. Joseph's Hospital last time.  I will write later as to what was done.

Dx 10/1/2010, DCIS, 1cm, Stage 0, Grade 3, 0/5 nodes

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