Bloody Doctors!

I am so pissed off!

After years of schlepping through to another city to see my gynae, I decided to find a new doctor closer to home. I did, and I liked him. I was comfortable with him.

Towards the end of last year I started calling to make my next appointment, only to be told they were already full for the year, and to call in a couple of weeks when they had their new 2015 diary.
I started calling every two weeks, for three months, until they finally had a new diary and I could make an appointment.
He could only see me today, which I figured was fine since it wasn’t much more than a year since my last appointment.

So this morning I showered, washed my hair and brushed my teeth, and set off for my appointment. I was ten minutes early but I had a book, and I wanted to verify my details so I wasn’t worried.
The receptionist was on the phone so I waited, and then she says to the woman on the phone that the doctor is now a cash-up-front-then-claim-from-your-medical-aid practice and its a R2000 fee.
TWO THOUSAND RAND!
She finished her conversation and greeted me, and I said I was there for my 11am appointment, but that I didn’t know about this pay-up-front thing. “Oh yes,” says she, “we changed now in January.

Let me just interject here that I am mid-PMS, MELTING in this heat, and now beyond irritable when I tell her I do not have R2000.
In my head I climbed over the counter and ripped her arms off with my bare hands when she asked me if I would like to reschedule. But I said no, I can’t reschedule, I don’t have R2000, I have to cancel and find another doctor.
And I left.

Without slamming the door.

Halfway home though, I gave the practice a phone call. I told the receptionist – in a calm but obviously unimpressed tone, with no swearing whatsoever – that I would have appreciated a call when they changed their policy, and that perhaps she should call the other people with January and February appointments, who had also most likely made their appointments the previous year, and let them know they have to pay up front.

And of course, needless to say “pissed off” doesn’t even come close to describing the language I was using when I was alone…

About Angel

Wife, mom, cake artist, Guide Dog puppy raiser, ADHD champion, wedding planner, and tattooed cat slave.
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10 Responses to Bloody Doctors!

  1. Candy says:

    Look, what is he using, Golden frikken apparatus? My gynae is like 1200 that includes a scan and all that…. thats frikken ridiculous. Besides for change in policy, his wife wants a new condo in New York more like it…

  2. Wenchy says:

    That is totally unacceptable!

  3. Daryn Sutton says:

    Absolutely disgusting! Whenever I have to go somewhere new, I always ask if they charge medical aid rates. If they don’t, I tell them to sod off! and find another doctor. Sometimes they will say, it depends on the doctor, so then I tell them to sod off too. They cannot be picky and choosy about how and what to charge the patients. Sadly some medical aids are to blame as well as sometimes they don’t pay the doctors timeously. However charging R2k for a consultation, is pure evil and greed. Some years ago my wisdom teeth needed to be taken out. Medical aid said they would pay up to R1000 in those days. So the first specialist said it would cost about R4000 as he had to pay for the use of the hospital. My brother took me to his old Polish specialist and paying medical rates, it came to just over R1600 and medical aid paid the difference. Phew…………!!
    A big hug and a big lick to Askii’s brother! Daryn xx and Askii woof woof!

  4. MeeA says:

    We are STILL not even on a medical aid. For the six of us, the monthly premium is more than a luxury car payment and, frankly, given the choice, I’d rather have the luxury (7-seater) car!
    We are looking at medical insurance options, just to cover big emergencies. I refuse to accept paying medical aid premiums at the current rates when we are hardly ever sick, only to then have to fight with them anyway when I do need to use it.
    I’ll get the medical insurance at less than half the medical aid premium and when I have more to contribute toward healthcare, I’ll rather put savings away into an interest bearing savings account…

    Also, what the hell happened to common courtesy? That practice should REALLY have called/smsed or emailed patients to let them know of the changes!

  5. Dave says:

    The other day I heard about why doctors have switched to asking clients to pay cash up front and I think it may be of benefit to everyone here to find out.

    Apparently certain of the top medical aids (I won’t name names, but I’m sure you can imagine who) have been delaying their payments to doctors for months. Then months later they offer to settle the accounts at a discounted price immediately as opposed to the doctor waiting longer for a proper resolution and full payment.

    For some doctors, surgeons for example, this means the medical aids owing them in excess of R1mil before settling for half of that, simply because the surgeon needs he money to pay the bills of his practice.

    Medical aid schemes however almost never refuse to pay the clients back from their MSA and are far quicker to resolve disputed with consumers since the introduction of the CPA (which does not apply to businesses like the partnerships that doctors often enter into).

    While it doesn’t excuse them not informing you of the change, it does I’ve a bit of perspective as to why they’ve been forced to make the change.

    • Angel says:

      I totally get that they are battling to get their money out of the medical aids, its always been a problem.
      And getting your medical aid to pay you back is just as big a pain – doubly so with specialists. You only ever get some of the money back.
      What I still believe though, and always have, is that their rates are more than exorbitant. For all medical specialists in SA. Its not as if I can just pop off to a GP ‘coz my gynae or my dentist is expensive.
      I understand that they are trained and learned and experienced and entitled to a fee, but R2000 for 20 minutes!??!

  6. Scott says:

    It’s about to get worse- apparently there’s new legislation which kicked in at the beginning of this year to do with insurance. This is said to be so high that many gynaes may have to close and the ones that do exist will have to push their prices up. I don’t have official info, though.
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  7. acidicice says:

    *sigh* What a stupid practice. I also get annoyed when a place doesn’t have a card machine to pay. Who carries cash around? Also, R2k?! Were you going in for an op or a check up?! Ridiculous! Sorry Angel 🙁 You have every right to be pissed!
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  8. Jenge says:

    Took me two weeks running around making sure my Medical aid covers Kelby. Kelby happens to be in an accident. I remember one of my delta hospitals are Olivedale Clinic so I send the ambulance in the right direction only to find out later that they have removed Olivedale from the list and ever so kindly forgot to let me know it is not the hospital to got too anymore. R7200 co-payment? Good thing Kelby stayed in a emergency unstable state because then they are not allowed to refuse treatment. Long story short they wrote the co-payment off…

  9. blackhuff says:

    It infuriates me that doctors these days don’t want to claim from medical aids anymore. It’s like a friend told me last week, one can barely get through with a salary and just maybe save a little money. So if it is so difficult for the average person to save, where will they find money to pay up front for a doctor appointment?
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