Last night we made an unexpected trip to the emergency room at George Washington University Hospital. Nothing serious, just painful and annoying. My regular doctor is on holiday and the insurance company authorized a visit to the emergency room (welcome to health care in America!) so we went. I got through triage and payment (of course you have to pay before receiving treatment) quickly despite the staff and the patients absorbed by the Redskins game. I was put into a private examination room because I have A Female Problem and waited, and waited, and then saw the supervising doctor, then waited some more, and saw the physician's assistant who actually treated me. Everyone seemed so young.
I am still waiting for the drugs to kick in (antibiotic + painkiller) and in the meantime I'm forlornly considering an exceptionally mellow New Year's Eve/5th wedding anniversary.
Your insurance company requires you to get authorization before going to the ER? That's bullshit.
I always figured the paying before treatment was just a way for them to give you something to break up the wait.
I hope you feel better, whatever it is.