Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by ladybugmandy, Oct 27, 2008.

  1. ladybugmandy

    ladybugmandy Member

    hi all. i am so frustrated.

    i went to dr. lerner on oct 1 and told him my condition seemed to be deteriorating. i suggested we re-test the mycoplasma pneu, which was a little high in jan. he said he would retest it.

    today, i got a bill from labcorp for $1769.00!!!!!!

    apparently, he ordered the lyme, ehrlichia, babesia, mycoplasma pneu., and antistreptolysin O (strep).

    i had no idea he was going to order all that - especially since i had most or all of these done when i first saw him and also earlier with the NY doctor i was seeing.

    i guess that since my condition did not appear to be improving at the time, he wanted to see if maybe the antibodies had creeped up to an infection that i may have tested negative to before.

    i know that he is very thorough and an expert...and i am very glad that he is so meticulous...but this is really becoming a huge financial burden for my mom. tension is once again running high.

    i paid thousands with levine then with dr. galland and then with dr. lerner already. i did not expect to have to pay a large lump sum again.

    i do hope i can become well enough to support myself one day because it looks like all my mom's savings will be gone with this CFS!

    i also feel so guilty with my sister so ill in a mental institution and all this money being spent on me....

    o well....sorry to whine.....thanks for reading everyone.

  2. SpecialK82

    SpecialK82 New Member

    Aargh! I feel your pain, I am so sorry. I know it's a little frustrating when Dr. Lerner orders labs because he doesn't discuss them with you until you hear it on the recorder. I don't like him to run anything that my docs here can do (like thyroid) because it's much cheaper at home.

    I agree with the last post that maybe labcorp can write some of it off if you tell them of your condition. I would ask to speak to a supervisor and explain your situation. If denied, I would write them a letter and plead your case. Maybe look on-line and see if they have any assistance programs.

    One good thing that may come of all the testing - maybe he will find something unexpected??

    Also, try to break it to Dr. Lerner next visit that you are running very low on money and you have to be very careful which labs are run from now on. I know that's easier said than done and like you said he is doing a thorough job.

    I too worry that I need to use the $$ that I have where I can get the biggest bang for my buck!

    Good luck - let us know if you get anywhere.

  3. 3gs

    3gs New Member

    i would refuse to pay this bill.

    tell them what you requested and doc did not have your permission to run other tests.

    i have fought bills before and had them taken off.

    good luck
  4. kitteejo

    kitteejo Member


    How awful, whining? should be screaming! I can't believe this. I know you all love Dr. Lerner and I see why (from my first visit) but my God how can he put people in such debt. He should stop and think or at least ask about insurance coverage before ordering so many tests.

    Thank God you have such a supportive mom.

    At my appointment I watch him check off a million tests and kept thinking "oh boy, this is going to cost me a bundle". Never in my wildness dream did I imagine that kind of money. My insurance may cover some of it (it will be out of network) so I may not get as big a bill as you did. What is so great about Lab Cor? You could have taken the slip home with you and had a lab at your home perform the tests. Then it would have been covered.

    If I get a huge bill I will take my the order to Quest. If he won't let me than I'll have to think twice about his treatment.

    I had my Echo yesterday by the way. Step two.

    As suggested from others do the pay arrangement and keep asking for discounts. If insurance had paid them they would have received a heck of a lot less.


  5. ladybugmandy

    ladybugmandy Member

    thanks everyone for being so supportive:)

    labcorp did discount 15% the last time i called and told them i was paying out of pocket but this time i will maybe pester them for a deeper discount and see what happens.

    i am canadian so i cannot appeal to any insurance company.

    as for talking to dr. lerner about it...NO WAY! i cannot go there LMAO

    dr. lerner is not at all in this for the money and would never order a test he didn't think was necessary.

    still....i am going to pay closer attention to what they are ordering before i leave the office from now on.

    thanks again everyone.

  6. kitteejo

    kitteejo Member

    Thanks for your great advise grammy27. I will use it for sure both for Dr. Lerner visit and my labs. Both are out of net work for me. Will appeal as soon as I get a statement from them.

  7. Rafiki

    Rafiki New Member

    I'm going to keep this short because every time I try to respond to something I get lost in computer glitches and, ultimately, I give up. So, fingers crossed...

    Have you looked at whether OHIP would cover your treatment with Dr. Lerner. OHIP will cover out of province/country costs for procedures and treatments not available in On/Can. if local treatments have been tried and have failed. Of course, they would have to deem Lerner's treatments legit but they may. I know people who have had very expensive treatment for a couple of different illnesses paid for by OHIP with little difficulty.

    It may be too late for anything you have already done but may be worth a phone call re future expenses.

    Fingers crossed!
  8. ladybugmandy

    ladybugmandy Member

    hi rafiki...thanks for the reply.

    i have looked into OHIP. they want all sorts of proof that equivalent tests are not available here in canada and that the treatment i am receiving in the states is not "experimental", and they want me to appy prior to each visit to the US and wait 3 to 6 weeks for approval.

    it sounds like such a huge headache and stress makes my condtion so much worse. also, i am 99% OHIP wouldnt approve any of this. the canadian CFS specialists are not even doing antiviral treatments yet. it is definitely considered very experimental here.

    still....maybe when i start feeling better, i can collect dr. lerner's studies and apply for some sort of approval. maybe the fact that i am getting better would make a difference to them. it will be a lot of footwork too - i would have to go to a bunch of doctors to write letters on my behalf. also, i do not even have antibody evidence of active virus. i would have to collect studies showing that tissue culture can show active virus in absence of antibody elevation.

    it just sounds like an impossible feet!
  9. Rafiki

    Rafiki New Member

    Yes, I agree, it does sound impossible. For sure, it sounds totally and completely overwhelming. I don't know if I would even go through the motions given everything.

    The people I know had two things going for them that you (we) do not. They had doc.s here recommending the out of province treatment and people on the other end who were knowledgeable about OHIP. (Has Lerner's office ever worked with OHIP?) Without at least one of those elements it seems a very long shot, unfortunately.

    I wonder if any Canadian ME group (Nightingale, for instance) would have info re this. That might be the best way to check it out.

    I wish you all the best,
  10. greatgran

    greatgran Member

    Maybe the doc saw a reason to order these labs and if he can help you then don't feel guilty just think I will be well one day and can help my mom and sister.

    Oh, how I wish I had a good doc that would order labs for me and I had some answers to what the heck is wrong with my body and mind.

    Could you work out a payment plan with Lab Corp.

    Let us know what the doc finds out. I sure wish I could get to him but unable to travel.

  11. ladybugmandy

    ladybugmandy Member

    hi all. i called labcorp and begged and begged. they agreed to discount 20% if i paid with my credit card right away so that's what i did. the canadian dollar is so low now that it cost me over $1800 canadian. UGH.

    as expected, all the tests were negative. the mycoplasma pneu was a little high as it had been in the past when dr. lerner did not think the antibodies were high enough to treat (they were 229 with normal 0-99). they are now 179.

    i am in such in a bad mood from this unexpected cost that i cancelled my appt for tomorrow and will re-book for next week.

    i had already confirmed it this AM...and to cancel i left a message on the answering i wonder if i will be yelled at the next time i go.

    dr. lerner specifically told me to come tomorrow but that was because we had increased my valcyte dose, which we have since reduced due to liver enzyme elevation.

    plus i am feeling better now too.

    ugh...i wonder if he will get angry...

  12. Clay2

    Clay2 New Member

    Here's a bit of financial advice for everyone. This is not meant as criticism for Ladybugmandy's deal, just some information. I assume she did the best she could and used good judgement.

    There is a reason they are so happy to have you put the bill on your credit card.

    You had an unsecured debt with them. They have very little leverage in collecting these debts. You didn't specifically order the service after all. Medical folks hate these debts because they know they have trouble collecting. This is why they want it on your card.

    You transferred it to a credit card. It is now a secured debt and the bank can go after you. You absolutely have to pay it all. The credit card company will not negotiate the amount.

    In general, unless you are very satisfied that you can't do any better, you shouldn't ever agree to make an unsecured debt into a secured one. You lose ALL your control over negotiating further deals.

    Secured debt shows up more clearly in your credit report, you can't write letters to the credit agencies that determine your credit score to dispute it.

    In general, keep the debt with the original party and keep after them for better terms.
  13. Forebearance

    Forebearance Member

    Oh what a bummer, Sue.

    I appreciate all the good advice on this thread.

    In the past, I've had good luck with this approach: I call the lab or doctor or hospital and explain that I want to pay the bill, but it is a financial hardship for me, so I want to see if I can set up some kind of payment plan.

    I've found that they have always been happy to do it, and as long as I pay something each month, they know my intentions are good and it won't hurt my credit or cause them to regard me as a deadbeat.

  14. ladybugmandy

    ladybugmandy Member

    hi all. thanks again. the lab was kind and said i could have a 9-month interest free payment plan but would not get the 20% off if i did i decided not to.

    clay...i may not have been so hurried to pay the bill if i felt i would not need labcorp in the near future, but i know i will. i will have blood sent there quite often.

    i have also decided to go to dr. lerner's office tomorrow. i am just too sick yet to risk pissing him off!


  15. kitteejo

    kitteejo Member

    I am starting to have doubts about continuing to see Dr. Lerner. How has he helped any of you. Most of you are still sick, is this just a pipe dream that he can cure us? I can't handle that. I have about three other doctors sending me information via email and US mail claiming cures. I could have picked anyone of them too. I picked Dr. Lerner because of all of your posts but I am discouraged today. Plus, I am not looking forward to the bills I will be getting.

    I didn't take my anti-depressent yesterday or today so I'm a little down.

  16. ladybugmandy

    ladybugmandy Member

    kitt...hang in there. i was upset when i wrote this post cuz of the money but overall i am much better than i was before i started seeing dr. lerner. i still believe in him 100%.

    it is a long, "excrutiatingly slow" process.

  17. ladybugmandy

    ladybugmandy Member

    hmmmm thats a great suggestion! i will try to be a little more persistant next time. i don't have to pay interest because i can just cover the bill this time because my mom is helping me out.

    once i start working p/t in march, perhaps things will get a little easier..

    thank you again
  18. dc1980

    dc1980 New Member

    you may be able to tell your creit card co. that you absolutely did NOT give them permission to transfer the balance to your credit card and possibly have the charges reversed???

    I have done that but it was a diff. situation where a company was charging me monthly fees that I had no idea about and got all my money back.

    Good Luck,
  19. llelnino

    llelnino New Member

    I am going to Dr Lerner for the first time Tomorrow(Nov 4). I'm already having doubts whether he can even help me. but now hearing about this really scares me because I'm already broke and am stretching my family very thin. I have BC/BS but they said that I still have to pay $375 out of pocket, which I just have enough for, also since I live in NJ I had already spent money on daily airport parking, airplane ticket, car rental. I called his office and they said that he may run whatever test he feels he needs to but that my insurance might or might not cover it. I am not made of money and this is crazy. I just dont know what to do. I am going to him because of my very elevated EBV titers but if my insurance doesnt cover his tests than I cant see him. My insurance only uses Labcorp for testing.

    What do you all think I should do?
  20. lea

    lea Member

    politely tell the doctor that you can only do tests your insurance will allow.