Paul had a mole removed for the second time two weeks ago because it grew back. The doctor removed a bigger chunk of skin than she did the first time and stitched the gap closed. She said come back in two weeks to get the stitches removed.

So I set an appointment for removal of said stitches.

For today.

I picked Paul up early from school and hauled his (and my) butt up to Edina (dr wasn't in Burnsville office this week so we had to take two freeways to get to the office). We go into the office and check in. I sat down with Paul, and the receptionist calls out, "You have a $25 copay."

"What?" I said, "Isn't this a follow-up? He's having stitches removed that one of your doctors put in." She said that depending on the procedure sometimes the followup doesn't count as a follow-up, but as a regular office visit. What the aitch? I told her that I was going to call the insurance company before I paid to see what they said about it.

So I went out into the hall and called the health insurance company and got the same nonsense from the person who took my call.

Now I've had stitches a couple of times and have NEVER had to pay to have them removed. I thought the cost of the original visit covered the removal of the stitches--as in it's all part of the "procedure." I just went in to the office that put them in and said, "I'm here to get stitches removed." The receptionist asked, "Did you get them put in here?" and I would say, "Yes." And I didn't even have to show my insurance card or anything.

So after getting angrier talking to the the health insurance company (and being put on hold for several minutes), I went back in, vowing to dispute the charge with the doctor's billing office. I still hadn't paid the copay. By that time, Paul was back in the waiting room, having had the stitches removed. I argued with the receptionist some more, saying that it's silly that they are trying to charge me double for one procedure. I also said that if I had known they were going to charge me and the insurance company for removal of THREE stitches, I would have done it myself and saved myself the trip and the money. I wouldn't have even had to make an office visit if they hadn't put the stitches in! The receptionist consulted with the doctor and came back with the verdict: "No charge."


It took them all of 10 seconds to do it and they were going to bill the insurance who knows how much and make me cough up $25. That's several hours of babysitting! And Paul said the doctor didn't even remove the stitches, the nurse did.

Hopefully Paul wasn't embarrassed by my complaining. He might have quickly slipped out the door to the hall had there been anyone else in the waiting room. I don't blame him, I would have been embarrassed of me too. But proud too.


Jen said…
Good for you for sticking to your guns! One good thing about the military insurance is that we don't have any copays, so it's not a worry for us. However, i would have been just as peeved as you, but I probably would have just paid it without an argument. I'm a wimp:(
Jenni said…
I think you did the right thing and a big "atta girl" for standing up for yourself and all of us out there who are bullied by the medical powers that be. Sometimes I feel that they treat us like they are doing us a favor by treating us. Glad it is over and that Paul is stitchless. Really, you could have easily removed them. How many seam rippers do you own?