Wednesday, February 22, 2017

My colonoscopy nightmare

 The colonoscopy in itself was bad enough but the nightmare had just begun.  I want to share this story in the hopes that it might save someone else from going through what I went through.

Back in 2015 I had a colonoscopy scheduled.  I'm not sure how many of you have had this procedure but it entails a period of preparation to 'cleanse' your colon.  This includes a strictly liquid diet for a number of days prior to the procedure (2-3) and the day prior, drinking a solution that is supposed to do the final 'cleansing'.  I followed all instructions meticulously and went in on the day scheduled.  I was prepped for the procedure, anesthesia was administered and out I went.  Upon waking I was regretfully informed that my colon was not clean enough for the procedure to be done.  The doctor was not able to get a good look at what ever he needs to look at.  I was instructed to continue on the liquid diet for 2 more days, do the prescribed 'cleansing' solution again and come in again 2 days later.  At that time the procedure was successful and thankfully everything looked good.

This is where the nightmare begins.  I received the bills from the doctor and hospital for the 1st time I went in and insurance was applied.  However, I then received bills for the 2nd, complete procedure, and found that insurance had rejected the claim.  It is stated, I as was aware, that only one colonoscopy a year would be covered.  However, I was not aware that an "incomplete" procedure is processed the same as a "complete" one.  When the 2nd procedure was rejected I contacted my HR dept at work and they said they would look into it.  This is where I dropped the ball.  I continued to receive bills, then it went into collections.  I won't go into details, but the end result is that they denied the claim even after an appeal.  What is really bad is that the "incomplete" procedure that insurance covered did not cost as must as the "complete" colonoscopy, so I was stuck with the larger of the two bills.  I contacted an attorney who told me my only option would be to sue them, but I am not financially in a position to go up against an insurance company who, I'm sure, has a whole staff of attorneys.

My doctor told me it is unusual for someone to not be completely cleaned out after the original prep period, but not unheard of.  He has had other instances of it happening.  I was one of the unlucky ones.  If you ever find yourself in this position, I would carefully go over every option with your insurance before you continue.

I'm furious and I'm out a large amount of money, but a valuable lesson was learned - Stay away from doctors!