Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Seeing Red at an Eye Exam

Today I am feeling disgruntled for lack of a better word.

So why am I disgruntled you may ask ... good question! I've been having some problems reading small print lately more so than usual to the point where I have to ask Amanda to read the backs of medication bottles for me and that sort of thing. I've got a pair of what they call "cheater" glasses that are basically framed magnifying glasses but even those aren't helping at times. This isn't really all that surprising as I'm nearing the ripe old age of 50 but even so, I figured it was time to get my eyes checked just to make sure there wasn't something more going on. With a major family history of diabetes I figure it's probably a good idea to keep on top of these things.

I called this morning and got an appointment this afternoon to go see the eye doc at the local Wal-Mart Vision Center, which is one of the providers covered under my crappy health insurance plan that I have. Based on my crappy health insurance information I figured I was going to have to fork out a $30 co-pay to have the doctor tell me that my eyes were just maturing a bit and I needed a stronger pair of "cheaters". Well, turns out that with the crappy health insurance I have, $30 was the amount that the crappy health insurance would cover and the rest of the cost of the exam was my responsibility. So, instead of paying $30 I had to pay $54 - almost double what I thought it was going to cost me. But of course I didn't find this out until after the exam instead of before when I would have politely said, "Oh, no thank you then, I can't quite afford that."

Needless to say, I was none too happy when they told me that $54 was my co-pay. I pulled out my crappy health insurance card and showed it to them where it specifically states "Specialist: $30" so why did I have to pay more than that? Their answer? Oh, well, an optometrist is not really a specialist. Excuse me? An optometrist specializes in eyes, does he not? Is there something else an optometrist specializes in? Lungs? No. Hearts? No. Bone issues? No. Eyes? Yes. Anything else? No, just eyes. So why in the blue hell does an optometrist not fall under the category of "specialist"? After all, the guy who examined my eyes introduced himself as Dr. So-and-so and not "Yo, I'll be the guy checking out your eyes."

Even though it's not that particular place's problem that I have crappy health insurance, I think that perhaps it would have been really nice if they had told me what my part of the cost was going to be up front so I could have decided to bow out before I had the eye exam. I felt somewhat duped and cheated and, well, downright angry about the whole thing. When they asked me how I wanted to pay, with cash or credit card, I looked at him and said, "I don't want to pay with either. I want to pay my $30 like I assumed this was going to cost me and not $54 like you're telling me it's going to cost me." The poor guy just looked at me like I had snakes coming out of the top of my head - which might not be that far off! I wonder if he could see the smoke curling from my ears?

I ended up forking over the whole $54 as there didn't seem to be much choice in the matter but I wonder what would have happened if I had refused to? It's not like they could take back the eye exam or anything, Would they have locked me away in a back room until I either came up with the money or my family brought it in? Would I have had to work off my debt by polishing all of the eyeglasses displayed along the walls? Or perhaps they could have announced over the Wal-Mart loud speaker that there was a dead-beat customer in the Vision Center trying to get out of paying for a service thereby embarrassing me into action? Hmmm ... maybe I caved too soon?

Regardless I was seeing red when I left there this afternoon and it has left a bad taste in my mouth all afternoon. Today disgruntled, thy name is Linda!


  1. Linda,

    I think you got duped...

    If you have the same Major Medical I do, and I assume that is the case, they pay for one exam every calender year for people 40 and older, and every 24 months for those 18-39.

    Sadly, I think you qualify for the one a year plan, and even sadder enough they pay 100% (Up to $95 if out of network PPO).

    See page 38 in your summary plan description booklet.

    I just had one and they billed my insurance an balance billed me for a grand total of... $8 dollars.

    Sorry sweets....

  2. well that sucks!

    smiles, bee

  3. You should take your receipt and turn in a claim for the $24 to your insurance. The worst they can do is not reimburse you, in which case you're still out th $24.

    But they might act favorable and reimburse you for it. It's worth a try.

    BTW - What did the doc say about your eyes?

  4. Well, now you have to go see a dentist!




    (Bad taste in your mouth)


    Yes, yes-what was the $54 verdict??

  5. Without my glasses I could not read my computer screen.

    My point, although the glasses help me alot, I can not seem to read nothing (now) without them. Did they help me ?

    I think Linda glasses are a good idea, but I would not trust anyone outside a real pro for this job.

  6. I would have been furious ! They should have told you before.

  7. Anonymous4:42 AM EDT

    If you need cheap eyeglasses, I know where you can get them. I tried one of the pay-per-post companies and took a chance.... Know what? they did a good job.

    I say turn the receipt in. Do you have an FSA plan? If so, let that pay the fee.

    My plans never included eye exams. but then I worked for the crappy healthcare comapny....

  8. Actually, I saw the dentist last Friday for my 6-month cleaning and got a clean bill of health for my teeth! Along with a new toothbrush and floss and all that fun "went to the dentist" stuff in a goodie bag! Oh, and my crappy health insurance covers a cleaning 100% twice a year.

    The results yesterday were that my eyes are fine, I just need reading glasses and my distance vision in my right eye is just a bit off but nothing to get a prescription for unless I want mega-expensive bifocals. Which, by the way, my crappy health insurance covers not one penny of!

  9. Put a claim in they did you over Linda! :(

  10. I agree - put in a claim!
    And I think you should research the "covering 1 exam for every x # of years" - mine covers one eye exam every 2 years.

    Oh, and I would have loved to see the video on Fox's "When Wal-mart customers go WILD" of you with snakes coming out of your hair as you told off the 'specialist'!

  11. That really sucks! I am for putting in your claim as well. It cannot hurt. Eye doctor is a specialist!


Thanks for visiting!