Saturday, August 05, 2006

August 5, 2006 - On Vacation... Almost

Today we're packing to go away on vacation. Claire and I will have two weeks or so at our cabin in the Adirondacks, near Jay, New York. Then, I'll have an extra week or so in the north woods, on my own, after Claire's vacation time has run out.

I'll try to post some blog entries while we're away, but they're likely to be few and far between, and probably won't include pictures. (The only internet access I have up there is in the local public library, so I'll be limited in what I can do.)

Our departure has already been pushed back a bit. I've been dealing with a huge backlog of accumulated tasks, many of them related to medical bills. As I sort through the dozens of window envelopes, I'm impressed, once again, by how weighty an administrative load our health-care-financing system puts on patients. Even the simplest lab test generates three or four envelopes – some from the medical provider, others from the insurance company. And that's when things are going well. When mistakes happen – which they frequently do, given the complexity of the system, and the variety of accounting systems being used – it can take a year or more to resolve the situation. Meanwhile, those window envelopes just keep piling up.

Cancer has a chaotic effect on the cells of the human body, but it also has a chaotic effect on patients' finances - and therefore, indirectly, on their quality of life. It would be much more therapeutic for me to be sitting on the front porch of our little house, right now, surrounded by birch trees. Instead, I'm sitting at my desk at teh manse, doing one of my least favorite things in the world: reconciling columns of numbers. I'm supposed to be on vacation, but I feel like I've got a temporary job instead: medical-insurance financial secretary.

Trying to figure out insurance reimbursements from a major illness does seem, at times, like a full-time job. It requires persistence, vigilance and buckets of patience.

The end is in sight, though. I can see my desk-top, at last. Soon it will be time to start putting the clothes in the suitcase.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

We hope that you and Claire will have a relaxing peaceful vacation. We've found out something about bills: They never seem to go on vacation!! They still arrive even when you're not at home to receive them. So enjoy and relax - you both certainly can use the rest. Charlene/Harvey