I was lucky to receive New Jersey state insurance March of this year, but wow! Do I miss my obnoxious co-pay having, ridiculously huge deductible paying (on my part), insurance – I selected through my job. The sea of doctors you could select from, at your discretion on your little lifeboat of decisions was paramount. I took it for granted as most do.
My first experience with my new insurance was with a dentist in my neighborhood who had a thing for jewelry. I can appreciate man who wears jewelry – and wears it well, but this gentleman had stacks of gold chains hugging his unnaturally tanned neck and cologne equally fighting for my attention, with just enough gray hair peaking out of his doctor’s scrubs to induce acid reflux. After dental x-rays were done on me with outdated machines and a dental assistant who insisted on speaking English to me, even though I spoke to him in Spanish – seemed clumsy with the tools. I couldn’t understand what he was saying and wanted to. I wish subtitles would magically appear when he spoke. WTF…is this man saying to me? After my 3rd attempt at answering him in Spanish, he conceded and spoke in our native tongue. I initially came to see him because my beloved, pink night guard I had for 2 years broke in two. I showed the dentist the remnants of my night guard and at first, he didn’t know what to make of it. Jajajaajaaaja (that’s Hahahaahaaha to you English speakers) “I’m surprised you didn’t choke. I’ve never seen anything li dis in my life. Ju can’t continue to put this in jour mouse.” Me: “Yes, I know it’s broken. Can you make me a new one?” “You have to check with your insurance…I dunno know. Or wait, Angela! See if this lady’s insurance can pay for a night guard….She’ll get back to you.”
Weeks went by and I hadn’t heard from the dentist’s office. I called them and they said I’d have to pay $150 for a night guard made by the lab. “Well, what about the measurements for my teeth to have a mold made?” Them: “Oh, yes that’s another $50…so the total is $200. Shaaaaaaaady! I thought. Me: “No, Thank you.” And, I haven’t seen the dentist or any other in the state of New Jersey until something goes horribly wrong with my teeth or I swallow my tongue…whichever comes first.
But, what about the other doctors you say…
My primary doctor is situated 2 blocks away from my apartment. I had no intentions or desire of driving, taking a bus or train, or biking to see this person. Interestingly enough, she didn’t ask too many questions about my health. I saw her for back pain that wouldn’t go away with over-the-counter pain pills for almost 2 weeks. She gave me lots of stuff! Allergy medication, asthma pump, nasal sprays, prescriptions sleep aids, even. Ok! I went to the pharmacist and after my drugs were dispensed, I stood there in silence, across from the young girl who gave me my pills for an uncomfortable minute. “How much is everything?” Her: “Nothing. Your prescriptions are covered by the state.” My jaw dropped. “Is that right?” I twirled in the space between the cash register and the Depends undergarments and looked back at her again in disbelief. What a wonderful thing to not have to pay for your drugs. I could get used to this.
I felt the need to seek a doctor who seemed to know what he/she was talking about and saw a podiatrist two towns away. Okay, this doctor is close to NYC. He had legitimate credentials. I sought treatment for a pesky foot condition I had for almost 2 years. After seeing him twice, the verdict: “Yes, you had a rash on your foot, (biopsied by him), but it’s one of those transient fungi that like to “hang out” and then move on to the next foot.” “What does that mean Dr. Blah-Blah?” “It’s a transient fungi, no longer interested in your foot. That’s all.” I nodded slowly. He suggested I buy some topical creams – from him – to get the color and reduce the thickness of my toenails. “How thoughtful”, I smirked. I’m glad I had filled 3 empty Poland Spring bottles without his clueless receptionist noticing. Water consumption is expensive in these mean streets for the unemployed.