So I have health insurance. Pretty decent insurance at that. Gabe has insurance as well, but I don’t know how great his coverage is because he never goes to the doctor. Note: NEVER. Simon was originally covered by both of our insurance plans, since we’re not married we figured, might as well both get him all the coverage- see how that works.
Then I started getting paychecks that covered him AND me: um yea, it was $300 a pay period. Couldn’t quite afford that. So we took him off of mine, and put him just on Gabe’s. So far, it seems alright…? It’s hard to tell really until something bad happens I think.
So we’re still paying off just HAVING Simon in the hospital. My insurance covered most of my costs, minus 20% I think, so we had about $2000 left to pay for the hospital stay alone. Fine, we said, even though we’d just finished paying over $600 for the Global Package of going-to-the-doctor-almost-every-week and all the tests, and whatnot during pregnancy. Sure, we’ll pay the $2000 in increments, get it paid off by the time he’s a year old or something. haha. Then we started getting other bills. There’s the bill for my epidural, another $800 that wasn’t covered. Then the bill from Nationwide Children’s Hospital (have I mentioned how AWESOME they were for those four days we were there?!) for something like $1200 and then other weird bills started coming from different Pediatrix? company? And then another bill from September from Children’s for $200…If I count them all, I think we are roughly paying off about 5 different bills, all for Simon being born, and within the first month of his life. It’s so confusing. I tried calling to figure out what was for what and couldn’t get a straight answer. I think when you deal with big business hospitals, you get multiple bills from various people who contract with the hospital? I don’t know. At any rate, we’re not going to be bankrupted, but I’d like to mention that all of these bills come AFTER our insurance (BOTH insurance companies) have been billed. And we still owe. It’s insane.
One of the bills I finally figured out was for the lactation consultant we went to see in September. At this point, Simon wasn’t nursing at all. I tried and tried and tried and it wouldn’t work. So I pumped and pumped and pumped and we tag teamed getting him the breastmilk we wanted him to have. And we went to a lactation consultant at Children’s and miraculously, for the first time ever since his birth, he nursed for a half hour, and got 3 ounces. 3 OUNCES was a TON at the time! We weighed him before and after he ate, and at that point we really felt like we did the right thing, and could keep on trying with the nursing thing. (Eventually he figured it out at about 8-9 weeks old. Thank goodness.) But when we made the appointment, we were told that it would be covered by insurance (specifically they said my insurance) and that it typically would cost $70 for the remaining part insurance wouldn’t cover. We were willing to pay that, figuring it would be worth the expert advice. Apparently my insurance denied the claim entirely (Anthem) and Gabe’s insurance denied the claim because it was the “wrong diagnosis”. So the other day, I was on the phone with my doctor, the hospital, and the billing department, explaining our problems with breastfeeding, in order to find out what we were paying for. It is so strange to me…particularly because we’re not even breastfeeding anymore. I can’t believe I’m still having to explain this.
At that time, we both had full coverage for ourselves, and Simon had DOUBLE coverage, and yet we’re still paying bills and talking with people who are having to re-submit claims for us just to get an answer as to why we’re paying all of these tiny bills that add up. I don’t know if you’re aware, but having a kid costs money AFTER the whole birthing thing. Then there’s food, childcare (OH MY GOD CHILDCARE MAY BANKRUPT US) and well visits, etc. It’s crazy. It’s doable, but it’s crazy. It’s worth it, but it’s expensive.
I might also mention that the same insurance company that denied my claim for a 30 minute visit with a lactation consultant would have covered the cost a $300 abortion. I guess that’s cheaper to them. Just saying.
We have insurance. Good insurance. And we take him to the doctor when we should, when he’s sick and when he’s well. We take him to the doctor and worry more about him than we do ourselves, because that is our job, because he’s our number one priority, we want him to be healthy, and because we can afford to (just barely).
What about families with babies who don’t have insurance? What about people who don’t take their babies to well visits, who feed their kids Coke in baby bottles because that’s what their mom did? How are these people surviving and how are others ignoring the fact that the segregation of health care between the haves and the have-nots puts little defenseless babies at risk, and if nothing else creates a vicious cycle of ignorant human beings on this planet destined to rot their children’s teeth out with HFCS in baby bottles?
Okay off the soap box.
I’m not saying there’s one answer. There are potential problems to any sort of managed care system, and they’ll happen. I just don’t think that it’s right that we pay so much each paycheck, and then up front, and then we’re STILL discussing claims and whatnot on the phone 8 months after the baby’s born? And we’re good parents. We’re semi-healthy and responsible human beings. It just hurts my heart to know that if we’re struggling, and we’re in a better-than-average situation, I can’t fathom what it could be like to be in a worse one. And to peek into what that is like, go roam the halls of Children’s Hospital where the name on the outside of the room just says Baby Girl or Baby Boy. Or you could do it when you’re 3 days postpartum, that’s fun too. Ugh it just aches to see the people there and wonder how they’re doing it- how they’re making it through an HOUR of watching their sick kid, and then also wonder how they’re going to pay for what they need to care for their brand new baby.
So. I hope at some point, health care does what it’s supposed to do and HELPS people and insurance companies can suck it. I know they love people like Gabe who just keep paying and paying and paying into their pockets and never using the benefits. Grrrr it makes me angry.
And don’t even get me started on what insurance companies do to doctors who want to care for people out of the GOODNESS OF THEIR HEARTS. That’s a whole other post for another time. Again, insurance companies: SUCK.IT.
Also, I recently got new green glasses for only $200 which is a steal because I also have awesome vision insurance. I’m sure there’ll be pictures at some point.