Wednesday, October 14, 2009

I Hate Insurance Companies...and Doctors...and Basically Everyone who Disagrees with Me

So, I have Allergies. I have had seasonal allergies my entire life and just deal with them. I take my medications in the fall and spring and I am a-ok. Things got a little tricky when I was twenty and all of a sudden, totally out of left field, I developed an allergy to raw apples (they are fine when cooked, but raw if off limits). I know it's odd. It is a pretty bad allergy honestly. So bad that I cannot even cut apples without my hands breaking out in hives. At the same time that this happened I also became allergic to bing cherries and to pears. Not nearly as upsetting of as loss as my beloved apples, but still, a loss.

So, this is all something that has been going on for nearly ten years and isn't really something worth talking about...except recently I have noticed that I seem to be having MORE allergic reactions than normal. Like...when I walked into my sisters house and she was baking an apple pie. And I had a reaction to the raw apples IN THE AIR. Right. Seems worrisome. I mean, I can avoid apples when it is eating and touching, but how can I avoid EVER being in the presence of someone eating an apple?? Tricky.

Then I went to Chicago and got a pumpkin spice latte made with soy milk. And I had an allergic reaction. Not a serious one, but it was clear I was having an issue. I then had some pumpkin pie made with soy milk and again had a reaction. So...I decide it is high time I see an ENT about this little allergy problem. I wish I could say I was going to make sure I didn't have some crazy reaction and die, but really it was the pumpkin. I love pumpkin....and the holidays are coming...and...and... I just want to be told it was the soy. I can do this no diary thing during the holidays, but I CANNOT give up pumpkin.

This post is getting much longer than I expected...anyway, I went to the doctor. He was all like, "Oh MY! You need allergy testing!!!!" And I was like, "yeah, that's why I am here... I want food testing" and he is all like, "okay...but I want you to get tested for EVERYTHING!! Everything under the sun! If we have it, we are TESTING!!" (I am paraphrasing here) and I am all like, "GO FOR IT! Better safe than sorry!"

So...long story short, I get a call from the office and they have called my insurance and my insurance will only cover 60 allergy tests. Apparently the doctor had ordered 144. And each additional test is $8. So...that is a grand total of $672. SIX HUNDRED AND SEVENTY TWO DOLLARS. For tests that my doctor ordered! Because I am ALLERGIC. And I NEEEEEEED them.

So I call the insurance. They confirm this 60 test max. They then tell me that the doctor can write a letter saying that I NEEEEEEED the tests and they might be covered. I think all is right with the world. This sounds easy! The doc can fix everything with his magic letter!! So I call and ask. And...he says No. NO. Because I came to him asking for testing. WHAT?? How else do you get to the doctor besides saying, "GUESS WHAT??? I am ALLERGIC!" So...then I ask for the food testing only. That is 64 allergens. I can swing the $32. And the Evil Allergy doc says NO. He says I have to have the basic inhalant stuff first. The other 80 test. THEN I can be tested for the foods. am at a loss. I want the food testing, but we definitely don't have the $672 for the whole sha-bam. I just want to know what I need to keep away from. I want to know how severe the apple situation is. I want to know if I need a damn eppi pen. That is all.

So, in sum of this long angry post. I want food allergy testing and they wont give it to me unless I come up with nearly seven hundred dollars. I hate insurance companies and doctors and all those people that don't just listen to me. The end.


  1. I've never commented before but have been reading your blog since you were pregnant. This is crazy. I'm so sorry. Can you get a cheap flight to Canada??? (all free there!). I wonder what would happen if you went to a different allergy doc or to your primary care doc first? Might be worth a call.

    All the best--


  2. Call an make an appointment with an allergist. Maybe if you ask just to be tested for food they would do it. I understand you like your ENT, but you could always go back once you get the tests done somewhere else.

  3. Wow that is AWFUL!!! Here in the UK you don't pay for things like that (meds, yes, but allergy testing - no way!) That being said, it is difficult to ask for something and get it (I have difficulties eating many foods since my first lap - wheat, raw apples, salads, dairy - the doctor *thinks* it's the fibre I struggle with) but because it is classed as IBS and not an allergy they won't test anything and just speculate... that being said, if I did push the issue harder I am sure I would get what I needed (and if it WAS an allergy there would be no question of it!!) without paying a single penny... I can't believe you would have to pay out so much for something you clearly need (I mean, if the doctor insists you are tested for everything he obviously thinks you need it!!) I am angry for you but have nothing constructive to say unfortunately because I don't really understand the US medical system (here it is a case of go to your general practitioner and if they think you need to see a specialist then you get referred and it's all dealt with for you). I hope you get the issue resolved somehow as this whole thing sucks for you xx

  4. I couldn't agree more! I think insurance company's are awful!

  5. Hi Sarah! I'm Dani's friend, Susan...I'm not really anonymous! I've been reading your blog for the past two years, and I love it. Did your doctor mention allergic cross reactions? Sometimes, people who are allergic to certain types of pollen have issues with certain types of foods (especially raw foods). This is fairly common for people who experience hay fever. I have oral allergy syndrome, where my body mistakes raw oranges for certain types of tree pollen. My lips swell when I drink orange juice or eat raw oranges. Usually, I don't have problems with oranges in the winter, but if it's hay fever season, watch out! Your doctor probably wants to explore all possibilities for sources of your food allergies, and you really should be tested for everything. Unfortunately, the evil health insurance companies don't care or want to understand because they only care about the bottom line, not your health. Your doctor needs to fight for these tests to be covered, and if he won't, you need to find a doctor who will.

  6. Whoa! This is the same thing that happened to my sister and me... apples, followed by cherries, and then raw carrots, and raw peppers... SUCKS.

    It's extra lame that your doctors is making you get a group of tests before he'll give you the tests you asked for, but you have to pay for the whole thing because you requested the tests. Were you just supposed to eat things and wait for the swelling?

  7. Hi I knwo you don't knwo me and I have NEVER posted on your blog and perhaps you will not get this, but google "Oral Allergy Syndrome" seems similar to your problems....I am guessing!! Hope this helps!

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