On July 16, 2018, I began having pain in my right arm, which I treated with tylenol/ibuprofen. By the end of July, the pain had escalated to numbness/tingling/electrical shocks from my shoulder down into my hand.
Upon “googling” my symptoms, I found that these are classic symptoms of a C5-C6 disc herniation. Since I had been diagnosed with a bulging C5-C6 from a cat scan performed in 2017 due to crippling headaches, I assumed that this was my cause of the numbness.
I have Medical Mutual of Ohio health insurance through my employer. My plan has a premium of about $10,000 a year (my portion is 25%), and carries a deductible of $5400 per year (which I had met in February 2018).
The first week of August, I decided to try some chiropractic visits thinking that it might relieve my symptoms. After 5 visits, my symptoms were worse, and my ability to make it through a work day was becoming more difficult. So I began looking for “neck doctors”, and made an appointment for August 24th.
On August 5th, unable to cope with my symptoms, I decided to go to Urgicare (my physician was unable to see me for weeks). I thought that Urgicare would be cheaper than an ER visit, and less likely to be declined my Medical Mutual. But the physician at the Urgicare immediately sent me to the ER to rule out a heart attack. (which I was fairly certain was not the case, but I followed their advice)
The ER doctor did not perform any diagnostics, but agreed that MY google diagnosis was most likely the case, and prescribed Prednisone, which helped for less than a week before my symptoms returned.
So I suffered for an additional two weeks before I could see the neck doctor on August 24th. This doctor also agreed that MY diagnosis seemed to be correct, and ordered an MRI, referred me to a neck surgeon, and to a doctor who could do steroid injections directly into the neck. But neither would see me until I had an MRI.
And, of course…..Medical Mutual of Ohio REFUSED to authorize the MRI until I had completed 4 – 6 weeks of physical therapy for something that had not even been diagnosed from so much as an x-ray, but just something that was being assumed by symptoms researched on Google.
So, I was forced to complete 10 physical therapy sessions before I could proceed any further. Which I did. But in the meantime, I chose to schedule my own MRI and pay OUT OF POCKET just to make sure that I didn’t have anything more serious going on that could perhaps be worsened by waiting.
In the meantime, I have suffered through each and every second of my life dealing with this pain/numbness/electricity in my arm and hand.
So finally!!! I took my OWN MRI to the “injection doctor” this week, and have an appointment to try this route on 10/17/18. A full three months after my symptoms started, and almost two months after my MRI was originally ordered. All because Medical Mutual of Ohio saw fit to make me complete physical therapy before proceeding further.
I have also seen the neck surgeon this week, and was able to hand him my SELF-FUNDED MRI. And he has confirmed that if these injections do not alleviate my symptoms, that surgery is my only other option. Which, will most likely not take place until 2019 (WHEE!!! ANOTHER DEDUCTIBLE TO PAY) because of Medical Mutual’s decision.
No one who pays the amount that I pay for health insurance should have to endure the pain that I have endured for the amount of time that I have dealt with it. Medical Mutual should be ashamed of themselves for treating their clients this way.