Friday, April 23, 2010

And then I walked out

As I've written, I had b*tox injections in my forehead back in February in the hopes of getting my migraines under control. The results have been mixed. There have definitely been days where I could tell I was having a migraine, but I just couldn't feel the pain. And then there have been days where I was flat in bed with an ice pack on my head.

The doctor told me that she had given me a fairly low dose of b*tox as a baseline and that the effects might wear off before the predicted three months, and that's exactly what happened. So two weeks ago, I called the doctor's office to make an appointment for another round. Amazingly, the doctor herself called me back to talk about my options. I was stunned at the personal response.

In the meantime, I'd received a bill for $160 from the doctor's office. The original amount of the bill had been $350 but they had reduced it by $140 for the Humana "discount," whatever that was. I called the billing office and asked what was going on. I explained that I had already paid the $50 co-pay and the $200 for the b*t0x itself and asked what this new charge was for. The billing office lady told me it was the cost for the "procedure" of actually doing the injections.

I was stunned - $350 plus $50 for four shots.

When I told the business office lady that no one had told me about the procedure fee and that it pushed this treatment out of the realm of affordability for me, she told me that she'd talk to the doctor and give me an answer at my next appointment.

The appointment was this morning, and before I even paid my co-pay, I asked to talk to the business office lady to see if was going to be dinged the procedure fee again. When she came out and I re-explained my concerns, she said, "There's always a procedure fee."

I turned to the appointment lady and told her to cancel my appointment, and then I walked out and cried in the car for a few minutes out of sheer frustration.

I completely understand that doctors need to make money and cover their overhead. I'm not arguing with that. It's just that I don't think that four shots into my forehead should cost me $600.

So now I'm looking at other options, including calling my primary doctor to see if he has any suggestions. I may even go to one of those shopping mall med-spa places that host b*tox parties. At least there, I can get cocktails along with my b*tox.


Keeffer said...

this is all ridiculous. mine, without insurance, pre-kaiser, was $256. flat.

and i got 20 injections. (different b*tox i know) but it worked the same as yours did.

end result, go to a dermotologist, tell them you don't have insurance, but are getting it for migraine treatment, ask how much. if my beverly hills one can do it for $256, it can't be more expensive in austin.

Holly said...

I'm so sorry. Four shots of botox should cost, like, $10 a shot, I think. That sounds fair and reasonable. It's obviously not a rare commodity (botox)... I can tell that just by looking at Michael Douglas's face.

I hope you find a solution for your migraines. I only get them once or twice a year, but they are devastating.

Alexandra said...

Shopping mall med spas???

Where do you live??

Baino said...

It does sound outrageously expensive. I just had a quick check on the web and cosmetic botox treatment here costs about $400 - $600 so I guess they're in the ball park. Definitely taking advantage there. Will your Health Fund cover it given that you're having them for medical reasons? I have a cousin in law who has a slightly palsy'd eye and she has them to firm up her eylid and they're all covered by her fund.