The Latest News on My Doctor Referral Saga

By: Loolwa Khazzoom, Founder, Dancing with Pain

August 26th, 2008 • Patient AdvocacyPrint Print

Okay this is fucking sick. In, you know, that twisted, borderline hilarious kind of way.

I just called my primary care physician’s office, to make sure that the referral to the eye doctor had been pushed through in time for my appointment tomorrow. “You can’t be referred to BL [the doctor I wanted to see],” said the receptionist, “because he’s not covered by your insurance. You have to pay out-of-pocket.”

“But I called ahead of time, before making the appointment” I protested, “specifically to verify that you could refer me to him, that he was covered by my insurance.” “Well he’s not,” the receptionist said.

“Okay, forget it,” I said. “What about the referral to my gynecologist?” “What are you being referred for?” the receptionist asked.

You must be fucking kidding me.

“Why do you need to know?” I asked. “Because I need to know what you’re being referred for, in order to push the referral through.” “It doesn’t say why I’m being referred?” I asked incredulously. “No,” she said.

I spoke up. “This is ridiculous!” I said. “The physician’s assistant made me get into this whole thing about why I needed a referral — making me answer all kinds of questions I didn’t want to discuss, and she didn’t even put anything down?” “No,” the receptionist answered.

Here’s the icing on the cake: It turns out that my gynecologist also is not covered by this medical group. The receptionist began rattling off other options I had for a gynecologist. “You know what?” I said, “Forget it.” “Okay,” she replied, and we hung up.

I’m calling my credit card company to dispute the co-pay I shelled out — for what I now know was not only an awful experience, but also a complete waste of my time and money.


Aviva August 31st, 2008

Ugh. So, so sorry you’re going through this. I’m so grateful my insurance company doesn’t require referrals (although it also doesn’t cover anyone out of network, but it’s one of the primary networks here in Portland so it’s not that bad a deal).

Hang in there, and good luck!

(And hey, I thought there was actually a LAW that said insurance companies, even HMOs, could NOT require women to get a referral to see an OB/gyn. I’ll have to see if I can find some reference to that. They can require you use one in network, but not to require a referral. I’m like 90 percent sure of it … but I do take a lot of pain meds so maybe I’m just loopy.)

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