It's the end of my insurance plan year. Three years ago, I signed up for a Health Savings Account. This nifty new tool costs significantly less per month than my old policy which is a good thing. However, unless you have open heart surgery or gangrene in your gall bladder, you likely won't hit your deductible. I pay the first $4,000 in medical expenses out of pocket. After that, my insurance company pays 100% of costs I incur.
Thankfully, this was the first year on the new plan that I met my deductible. After Stephanie had her tonsils removed in June, we were golden. The past three months I've been searching for a reason to go to the doctor.
"Dad, my left toe hurts."
"I'll book an appointment with the podiatrist tomorrow."
"Is this a freckle or a mole?"
"We'll let the dermatologist make that call."
"I've got a really bad tooth ache dad. Can I go to the dentist?"
"No! That's a different insurance company. Take a shot of whiskey and bite down on a twig."
I don't understand insurance, and I don't understand the medical profession. Last year at my annual physical, my doctor asked me if I wanted him to check my prostate.
How do you answer that question?
"Absolutely! I've been waiting for that all year-long! And while you're at it, could you give me a spinal tap?"
What guy is going to answer that in the affirmative?
"Well," I started, stalling for a moment as I pondered my choice. "On the one hand, I would trade my P90X video series to avoid that investigative procedure. On the other, I would prefer not to have cancer in that area. What are most of your other patients choosing?"
We ended up agreeing that I'd be checked at age 50, and the tension in the room decreased tenfold.
Oh, and the last doctor I visited on my multi-month journey chasing free healthcare, had a nurse who gravely insulted me.
She called me from the waiting room, took my height and weighed me. She then walked me into the examining room, pulled out the blood pressure cup and headed toward my arm.
"Mr. Ham, can you roll your sleeve up a bit?"
"Sure." I thought she could take it with my dress shirt sleeve down.
When I unleashed my right gun, she turned around and huffed, "Uh."
"Is something the matter?"
"It's smaller than I thought. I need to get the little cuff."
"Ma'am, it's not that small!" I insisted.
"It's whole a lot smaller than it looked under that big ole sleeve of yours."
As a general rule, it is better not to suggest that any man's part is smaller than anticipated - especially his bicep!
So this week I'm back on a healthcare diet. And after my experiences this year, perhaps that's not a bad thing.