Sunday, October 26, 2008

Strange but true

When I was a tween, I was fond of this thin paperback from the youth section of the local library, a book about the Bermuda triangle and other specious creepy phenomena. (Ghosts, spontaneous human combustion, all that.) I don't think I ever believed that these things were true, but I was magnetically drawn to these eerie tales.

Now, a story even more unbelievable has happened to me. What you are about to true. You may be skeptical, but I swear to you, it really occurred—and twice.

Five years ago, I wanted a super-effective form of birth control, so I decided to get the Mirena IUD. My insurance company said it wasn't covered, but I figured the cost would be no greater than the five-year cost of the Pill. So I charged the fee to my credit card, and submitted it to my flexible spending account for reimbursement. "We won't pay this until you've submitted it to your insurance company," they said. Fine, I said, and I asked the doctor's office to submit the claim. In a truly mysterious occult fashion, the insurance company sent me a check because the IUD was covered. (Spooky!)

Fast-forward to summer 2008. It's been five years and the Mirena is reaching the end of its lifespan. The doctor's office informs me that they will first ask my insurance company whether the IUD is covered, and I have to wait for their answer to schedule my appointment. The answer comes back within a week: No. Not covered.

Okay, fine, I figured as much. So I scheduled my appointment, planning to self-pay. The day came. I took the bus downtown, and walked a couple blocks to the office building. Little did I know (cue dramatic music) what was about to happen.

—[NC-17 rating on the ensuing gore. Key words: embedded, extra clinician needed, angry cervix, cold hard steel dilator, cramping, blood and gore.]—

So I waited with only the mildest sense of foreboding. Probably the insurance company's explanation of benefits would say "not covered," and the doctor's office would soon mail me a bill. I would pay the bill, and my soul would not be rattled.

And then (cue dramatic music again) the insurance company sent word that it has paid the doctor's practice some $900 for a device and service it had said were not covered.

It is a more unbelievable turn of events than an alien abduction, yes, but I swear to you that everything I have attested to is absolutely true.


Anonymous said...

I've been thinking of using an IUD. Presumably, since you were opting to have your 1st one replaced with a 2nd, you have been happy with this choice?

Orange said...

Yes. After the first six months or so, my periods more or less disappeared. I went from super tampons monthly to pantyliner-only periods a few times a year. The Mirena releases progesterone, which accounts for this change.

Mary said...! As a veteran of insurance billing (where payment routinely denied for pre-approved tests, and they only grudgingly pay up once I become completely hysterical and unhinged) this might indeed be the most shocking story I've ever heard! Are you sure this isn't just one of those apocryphyl Halloween stories that circulate around the web?

In case it really did happen - congratulations on your good fortune! :)

Narya said...

I believe contraception is nearly free in this state--because the last time I went to get a diaphragm (several years ago, mind you), I only had to pay the usual drug co-pay rather than the previously usual $40 or more. And I seem to remember such a clause (possibly related to whether ED drugs are covered? don't remember). Thus, I do not doubt your tale.

I had a diaphragm, years (+25?) ago, and liked it reasonably well. It did not have progesterone in it, however, so my periods did not disappear. In fact, the only contraception I didn't like (and I used many of them over the years) was oral contraceptives, which I took for a year early in my sex life.

Not that anyone asked . . .

Narya said...

What I meant was is that I had an IUD 25+ years ago . . .

Anonymous said...

I want to create a comic book or anime character called Angry Cervix. Can't you just picture her now?

Our mega-copay self-employed person still damn expensive insurance did not cover my Mirena IUD, but it's been worth every penny anyhow. Hope I don't have your complications when it comes time to re-up.

The Absent Minded Housewife said...

Whatever would McCain say about this?

I once had trouble finding someone to take out my Norplant self pay. Cue Planned Parenthood. I brought cash. They were happy to service me and the procedure cost a quarter of any doctor I asked.

I considered an IUD at one point but my history with BC wasn't good and I didn't want a method that I couldn't stop the use of immediately. I don't have to worry about that now. It's quite lovely.

Anonymous said...

I have the non-hormonal ProGuard IUD. I like it a lot. The side effects are kind of the opposite of the hormonal--heavier periods and more cramping--but I didn't have problems with those before, so the increase hasn't been bad for me. I've been very pleased with the IUD since I got it about 6 months ago and I feel good about the fact that I'm not using synthetic hormones.