Wednesday, July 12, 2017
My story can be summed up in one word: Freedom.
In 2015 my place of work switched to Evergreen Health, and I had to find a new primary care physician for the first time in more than 25 years. I went to Evergreen's "very helpful" website, where I found a long list of general practitioners who, as far as Evergreen was concerned, accepted Evergreen Insurance at the present, or once upon a time, or maybe in the future. In any case, I spent some hours over the course of some days failing to secure the services of a general practitioner. For about a year.
During this time- the winter of 2016-2017- I was so constantly sick that I finally gave up and went to a CVS Minute Clinic for treatment. First, I checked the CVS website to make sure the Minute Clinic accepted Evergreen Health. They did. Then I called Evergreen Health to make sure they would pay for the Minute Clinic. The nice lady on the other end of the line said "yes, CVS takes the insurance," which isn't what I was asking but was as close as I was going to get to an actual answer. So I went to the MinuteClinic and got a prescription for what was basically Claritin. A month later, I got a bill for $140- $160 minus the $20 Evergreen paid for. I wonder, if Evergreen had paid fifty cents of the $160 visit cost, would they have said "yes, CVS takes the insurance?"
Anyway, for two years I tried and failed to find a general practioner through Evergreen Health's not-at-all-helpful website, and every time I called to talk to a real person I was urged to use one of Evergreen Health's Primary Care Offices, conveniently located nowhere near any metrorail stations (and only one located on a bus line.) This spring I gave in and made an appointment at the only clinic I could get to by bumming a ride with a friend and taking half a day off from school.
The visit went well- I got a complete physical and everyone was very nice. Yay, contact with a doctor again! Kind of the reason we have health insurance to begin with!
Last month, I got an email from Evergreen Health- the company "regrets to inform me" that it is closing down it's primary care offices- all of them- this summer. I was given 60 days to pick up a copy of my health record (which I could obtain if I gave the office three days notice.) I was also given the advice to use Evergreen Health's web site to find a new primary care physician.
I'm sure this is Obama's FaultTM, but whoever is to blame, I'm about to start my third year of paying premiums but not actually having a primary health physician except for that one day this spring. Thanks, Evergreen Maryland, for playing your part in making the American Health Care System the very best in the whole world! I'm sure that a good percentage of those Canadians fleeing their own awful Socialized Medicine to seek Good Medical Care use doctors who take your insurance. I just wish they'd drop me a line and let me know who those doctors are. I could return the favor by warning them not to try to use one of your Primary Care Offices, since they don't exist anymore.