Well, THAT didn’t work.

October 20, 2007

Yesterday, inspired by the arrival of my period, I decided to call an RE.

…BIG mistake.

Here is a transcript of the subsequent conversations:

Receptionist #1: Hello, BigFancyUpperEastSideInfertilityClinic*, how may I help you?

Me: Hi, I’m a new patient and I’d like to make an appointment with Dr. TakesMyInsurance*?

Receptionist #1: Okay, well, Dr. TakesMyInsurance has her own receptionist off-site, who takes her appointments for her. I can give you the number.

Me: Oh, okay. That would be great.

Receptionist #1: Also, I should let you know that Dr. TakesMyInsurance is on medical leave right now–

Me (with alarm): Oh no, is she okay?

Receptionist #1 (flatly): She’s fine. [what I didn’t ask: if she’s fine, why is she on medical leave?] But Dr. TotalNewbie* is handling her patients right now, so the receptionist over there is taking calls for both doctors. Here’s the number…

So ended conversation number one. Then I went ahead and called the second number.

Receptionist #2: Good morning, Dr.’s office, how may I help you?

Me: Hi, I was given this number to call about Dr. TakesMyInsurance?

Receptionist #2 (cautiously): Ye-e-ss?

Me: Um, yes, well, I understand she is on medical leave, and another doctor is handling her patients? I was hoping to make an appointment.

Receptionist #2: Who referred you?

Me (sheepishly): Well, I got the name of Dr. TakesMyInsurance from my insurance carrier.

Receptionist #2: What’s your insurance?

Me: Aetna**.

Receptionist #2: Okay. Well, Dr. TakesMyInsurance does accept Aetna, but Dr. TotalNewbie, who is covering her patients, has not yet been certified to accept Aetna. [Me, in my head: Whaa? Did she just graduate from medical school yesterday?] So if you were to see Dr. TotalNewbie you would not be covered.

Me: Um, when will Dr. TakesMyInsurance be back?

Receptionist #2: Early December.

Me: Can I make an appointment with her directly for December?

Receptionist #2: Sure!

Well, what a relief. I can bypass Dr. Newbie altogether. So we book an appointment for December 14th. Yay, I think, all settled. But not so fast–

Receptionist #2 (as an afterthought): So have you had any infertility treatment before, IVF, IUI, etc.?

Me: No, we’ve just been trying for over a year.

Receptionist #2: Okay, so let me just let you know how things will work. Dr. TakesMyInsurance does accept Aetna, but BigFancyUESInfertilityClinic does not.

Me (with foreboding): Okay…

Receptionist #2: So this means that–and I’m not saying it will get this far, you might not need any of this, but just so you know if it does progress to this stage–if you were to get any procedures done, like the HSG, IUI or IVF, those would not be covered.

Me: Okay, um–

Receptionist #2 (continuing): –Also, if you were to have any monitoring in the morning at BFUESI/FC, it would not be covered. Although sometimes Dr. TakesMyInsurance will make an exception, if she does your monitoring she will sometimes bill the insurance. But sometimes not. [Huh???]

Me (bewildered): Um. Okay.

Receptionist #2: Also, your three-day bloodwork, which includes FSH, TSH, progesterone, etc [probably some other stuff that I didn’t catch] would not be covered.

Me: Um–

Receptionist #2: So basically that is what is not covered.

Me (not even trying to be funny): So… uh, what IS covered?

Receptionist #2: Oh, the initial consultation, of course! And whatever bloodwork is done on that first visit.

Me: Of course. Okay, thank you.

At which point I got off the phone, though not without considering just canceling the appointment outright, right then. Basically I have an appointment with an RE that I can see for free only once? And then literally every step of the process following that first appointment will be out-of-pocket? What is the point of taking my insurance at all, Dr. TakesMyInsurance? Or should I call you Dr. WhatIsThePoint?

Then I got the bright idea to call back and find out what insurance BigFancyUESI/FClinic does take–turns out the only one they take that I’m eligible for is one that my beloved internist has stopped taking. Great. So I either give up my fantastic primary care physician–who happens to be the only one of my various medical professionals that I actually like–so that I can work with this clinic, or I give up the clinic, which is widely heralded as the best in the city.


It’s no wonder I had a huge meltdown on the phone with G a few minutes later. He was great, though. He knows me well enough to know that allowing me to vent and rant for a few minutes would make me feel better.

So anyway, after the RE confusion, I finally gave up and called my annoying ob-gyn, Dr. JustHaveSexAndYou’llGetPg, and made another appointment with her for a couple of weeks from now. Even if I have to do all of the tests over with an RE eventually at least I’ll have a starting point to work with, and some kind of idea of what the heck is going on inside me.

Don’t even get me started on the rules for submitting a semen sample that G is facing — the only reason we haven’t done that part yet is that at this local lab, the sample must be submitted M-F, 9:00 to 9:30am ONLY, no exceptions, and the sample must be brought from home–they won’t allow you to produce it on-premises. Um, not everyone is sitting at home at 9 in the morning on a weekday with a free twenty minutes to do some random wanking. Some people actually work for a living, LabRigid*.

*Not their actual names.

**My actual insurance carrier.


4 Responses to “Well, THAT didn’t work.”

  1. Kim Says:

    Hey there!

    RE’s offices CAN be interesting “experiences”. While I haven’t been through those type of calls, I have been through the “oh,yourinsuranceonlycoversXpercent,coughupyourdeposit” calls with Mr. “HowYOUdoin” RE financial coordinator. And Lord knows I hate dealing with my “I’msofabulouswithmyGeorgetownofficeandUPenndegreesucksthatyoucan’thaveakid” ob-gyn. Le Sigh!!

    Who’da thought we’d have to go through ALL this? Shame on it all! I have an RE appt today, so I’ll keep you updated. Stay encouraged!

  2. perchancetodream Says:

    I take it that you were trying Cornell? I have Aetna as well as can definitely recommend Dr. Licciardi at NYU who DOES take Aetna (as does NYU). They are the #1 and #2 centers so it might be worth considering. There is enough stress in this whole process without having to struggle with the insurance issues.

  3. Ariel Says:

    That all totally sucks. As if the consult would result in you magically, immediately getting pregnant, with no diagnostic exploration whatsoever. I’m so sorry about the hassle. Only it’s never just hassle when infertility is involved, it’s a big emotional misery.

    Also, dollars to donuts “medical leave” is maternity leave.

  4. MN Says:

    I just had my consult with the BigFancyUpperEastSideInfertility Clinic with Dr. ItakeABSOLUTELY_NO_INSURANCEbecauseIaminchargeand_you_should_consider_it_a_privelege_to_see_me 2 weeks ago (sorry for the long name but he really does come off that way). I don’t live in the city so the hoops I had to jump through to get a consult were extra hard. Unfortunately, there stats speak for itself and they really are the BEST (I guess). They definitely make you evaluate how bad you really want to have children.

    I hope you get some answers before your appointment. Good luck to you.

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