Archive for June 7th, 2010

Like many, but unfortunately not all, Americans, I have private health insurance provided through my employer. I pay a portion of the premiums, but my employer picks up the bulk of the tab. I have enjoyed many benefits of my excellent insurance coverage for years. I had very good, though not full, coverage for the fertility treatment that resulted in the births of four of my five children. I had 100% coverage for the month long NICU stays of each of my triplets (about $100K). And my pregnancy was mostly covered by my insurance. I have a portion to pay for each of my hospitalizations, but the truth is, the amount I have to pay, while sizeable, is nothing compared to the average cost of my medical expenses each month of my pregnancy – never less than $15K/month and often upwards of $40-50K per month during my pregnancy. (No, I’m not remotely exaggerating – my bills for the home health company alone were no less than $15K per month and that didn’t count my countless appointments with OBs and specialists, my frequent hospital admissions [average cost per hospital admission = $10K], random trips to L&D, etc.)

I often wonder what would become of a woman with a pregnancy like mine who didn’t have health insurance coverage. I mean, not that I’ve even ever *heard* of another woman with a pregnancy like that. But let’s say a woman with just one of the problems I had … say hyperemesis, for example… if she doesn’t have insurance, how does she get an appropriate level of care? Answer? Most probably don’t. And what then? If I hadn’t gotten inpatient care, and later home IV therapy, the results could have been catastrophic. I’m not blind to the fact that I’m incredibly privileged, and very lucky to have the coverage that I do. While I did pay a significant amount of money out of pocket for our fertility treatments over the years, I had incredibly good coverage that covered a huge portion of the cost. I would not have my triplets OR Tobie today without having had insurance. And having two high risk pregnancies following those expensive treatments required a significant amount of coverage by themselves.

Yes, I am a lucky woman, indeed.

So I’m not ungrateful for my insurance. Please know that. But there are times when insurance companies cause enough aggravation to make my eyes cross. Like the day that both Ellie and Abby needed the same medication prescription filled on the same day. This shouldn’t be too difficult, right? Except that because it was two girls with the same birthday and the same insurance policy number with the same prescription on the same day, the insurance company couldn’t figure it out. And when I called, they were flat out nasty about it. It turned out there’s a “person code” that isn’t printed on the insurance card (we’ve all got the same number printed on the cards). Without the person code, the insurance company didn’t know it was being billed for two different people, because they were both female with the same birthday. Oh. Except it took 3 phone calls, and a lot of exasperation and even some yelling to get that answer. Now I know the person codes so it shouldn’t happen again.

I hope.

Mostly, I’m just hoping it doesn’t come up as a question again.

And that $15-40K/month in medical bills I had from October through April? It turns out I’ve probably singlehandedly incrased the insurance premiums for everyone in my company. By more than double. It’s a small company, so it wouldn’t be difficult for anyone to figure out who caused the increase. Yep. That’s me.


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