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Back Problems Message Board

Back Problems Board Index

How do you do it?
Jun 26, 2013
So after years of suffering with low back pain it has finally over the past couple months gotten to the point that I can no longer live with it. I went to my doctor and he ordered an MRI which I had done last week. They told me the MRI shows extensive arthritis and wear and tear on the discs, possibly a pinched nerve (I'm a 39yo female by the way). My primary care referred me to a neurosurgeon and I went to the appt today. He wants me to go get a nerve test done, physical therapy 2-3 times a week, and an epidural steroid injection. Okay, fine.

Here's the problem: we're already going through some tough financial times and a while back I had to switch to the crappy insurance that my work offers, just so that we would have SOMETHING. In a nutshell the plan is a $45 office visit copay, for anything else I have to pay 45% of a negotiated rate after I meet a $750 deductible. The MRI will probably get me close.

So the first place I call is the neurologist for the nerve test. They're in my network, so good. But I have no idea how much this nerve testing is going to cost.

Next, I call the physical therapy office. They ask what kind of insurance I have and I tell them. He says," You're probably better off paying our cash price..." Cash price is $40 a visit, the Dr. wants me to go 2-3 times a week. Seriously??? I just don't have $320-480 a month to shell out for physical therapy. I just don't have it.

Finally, I call the pain management doctors to schedule the epidural injection. I find out that the doctors are contracted with my insurance company, but not the facility that they do the procedure in... The lady called my insurance company for specifics and the maximum they will pay for the facility is $380 and the cost of the facility is $1000. So I'd be responsible for $620, after my deductible is met of course. That's just the facility, that doesn't even include the cost of the procedure. I call back the neurosurgeon's office to get a different referral but she tells me that I'm going to have a really hard time finding in network doctors in this area . But suggests I call my insurance company to get the names of some doctors and she'll let me know if she's familiar with them. I finally found another one reasonably close that is an in network doctor. The facility he normally works out of is not in network, but there is one he works out of occasionally that is in network. The problem is I'm going to have to wait a while, at least a month. And I still have to pay that 45% that is my responsibility.

OMG. How do people do this? Is this typical?

So I need to do something for sure and just find a way to somehow make it work. Put stuff on the credit cards I guess. What do I start with? What would you say is most worth it, and what did you find to be a waste of money?

I feel so despondent, dealing not only with the pain, but now the financial issues. Any suggestions are appreciated...

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