Re: So, I'm losing my hair. (Thoughts on Doctors & Insurance II)

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User Info: Kylo Force

Kylo Force
1 month ago#1
After an eternity of urging from my friends and family to go see a doctor about my unusual hair loss (which, ironically, or perhaps, expectedly, made me even more resistant to do so), I finally went yesterday and learned exactly everything that my internet research and barber had told me, except for one thing.

It turns out the thing that I have (alopecia) is caused by the immune system attacking my hair (follicles) and also the pigments in my hair. Which is why, in the small places that hair has started to come back (like in my beard), it's come back all white. Which is visually interesting for me because I have to look at my ugly mug all day, and visually interesting for others who are like "oh wow a small patch of a small part of your facial hair is white."

The dermatologist I also saw yesterday was very encouraging and prescribed me a topical steroid to use for two weeks (twice a day!) to see if there's any improvement. The next step would be an injected local steroid. Neither method can be used for long term because apparently the steroid can also weaken the skin and scalp, respectively. So that's a thing.

The other reason this took me an eternity is that I needed to find a new GP due to having new insurance, and I find the process of actually finding a GP and trusting whatever coverage I have to not cost a ridiculous amount of money out of pocket questionable at best. I have no idea how this works in other countries, but I find it ridiculous that I can't go to a doctor's office and read on a chart costs for patients that are in-network and patients that are out of network. Maybe I'm too used to almost everything else where costs are up front and clear, but I find it so off putting to use medical services when the next closest equivalent I can come up with is that it's like shopping for a car. And at least when I'm shopping for a car, I know the ballpark we're starting from!

And don't get me wrong; doctors perform literal life saving functions and the good ones help their patients live fuller, better, healthier lives. But I'm not warm to a system where I see a person, talk to them and have services rendered, and then sit at home wondering what bill will come to my home 2-4 weeks later after insurance has had their hands on it.

This anxiety comes from two places. One, when I thought I had to have foot surgery for a thing and I went to a clinic and the procedure ended up costing me a couple hundred dollars even after my insurance coverage, and two, when I needed to get a TB test (I think it was TB? Something where mere exposure to a person is a big enough deal to get tested) and I was on the phone with my insurance provider clicking through phone menus for over 45 minutes to find out if I was covered or how much it would cost out of pocket.

When I was looking through all of my different options for GPs taking new patients, I noticed myself gravitating toward doctors that got their degrees decades ago and had been in the practice for a really long time. Which is an interesting thing because I don't think younger doctors are unqualified by any means, but I could feel that bias come through. (I also saw the name of a person I went to high school with and I was like, "no, I would not want her to be my GP." This could have been a source of the bias.)

All of this is to say, health care in the US is weird, man. And I guess I'm glad I've been relatively healthy enough to avoid navigating it, but man, it is a pain in the ass to navigate.
"Sa taong walang takot, walang mataas na bakod."
"To those without fear, there is no such thing as a tall fence." - Filipino Proverb
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