My knee hurts. It has been hurting for a couple of weeks. At first I ignored it, thinking it would go away. It didn’t. Maybe its inflammation. I started taking ibuprofen. No luck!
“You have to see a doctor and get an MRI,” said my husband, the doctor.
Now here is the problem. My primary care doctor retired on me (I am still in mourning), and my new doctor has the first available appointment in November. But I have a solution. I have Medicare and don’t need a referral. I just have to find an orthopedic doctor. Piece of cake, cookie or pie.
“Call you primary care doctor’s office and see if they can recommend a doctor,” said my brilliant husband.
So I made the call, and hung up with a list of two orthopedic surgeons.
“Hello. I am calling to make an appointment with Dr….”
“What insurance do you have?”
“The doctor has opted out of Medicare.”
Next call: “Hello, I am calling….” Same script.
“The doctor does not accept Medicare.”
I searched the internet and started calling the doctors. Same answer. Each time and every time. I made one last call and cut to the chase.
“Does the doctor accept Medicare?”
“May I make an appointment? I am having pain in my knee.”
“The doctor does not do knees. He is a hand doctor.”
“Can you recommend a knee doctor. Please?”
She gave me a list.
Same calls; same answer.
Don’t give up! Keep going. And then the answer I was looking for.
“Yes. He accepts Medicare. But he is not an orthopedic surgeon. He does Sports Medicine.”
“I’ll take it.”
“His first available appointment isn’t until four weeks, and I don’t want you to wait that long.”
“I’ll wait.” Just get that appointment.
So here I am, musing about all the fuss over ‘Medicare for All.” Why are doctors opting out of Medicare? Because what Medicare pays, doesn’t cover their cost. If we want doctors to participate in Medicare, we have to make it worth their while, or we will end up with ‘Medicare for All, and Access for None’