August 3, 2009

Welcoming Your Little Bundle Of Joy And Hospital Bills, Holy CRAP!

Wow, last time we heard from Sarah Wildman, she was writing an incredibly insightful article for the New York Times stuffed with the wisdom of hard-found parenting experts on how parents in these New Depressionary times really might not need to be buying so much fancy stuff after all.

Good thing, because they'll need every dime to placate the hospital bill collectors after their expensive, deceptive, bait-and-switch insurance company denies claims for $22,000 in totally typical maternity, labor & delivery charges.

There oughta be a law.

Health Insurance Woes: My $22,000 Bill for Having a Baby []
For Firstborns, Secondhand Fits the Bill [nytimes]


but even if she was covered, why is no on talking about the fact that the hospital is charging such a ridiculous fee? no way should it cost 22K, and i'm afraid that any type of "universal healthcare" legislation (should be called "universal health insurance") will mask this gross profiteering

read the article, but a c-section alone can run $14-25k. You're right that the fee-for-service model incentivizes a pile-on of tests, etc., especially if insurance pays either way. And they had insurance. It was just from a company that marketed their policy deceptively, and then fought tooth and nail to not pay--until she started reporting on her own case for a news story, then they miraculously claimed the policy had been changed way back, just no one had noticed yet.

The story is also about 1) how hard/expensive to get decent coverage in the individual insurance market, and 2) how when you do get it, and pay a fortune in premiums, the insurance company's first reflexive action is often to deny a claim and make you fight for coverage, and 3) the reason I posted it here on DT, which is that maternity coverage is often insanely spotty, expensive, restrictive and/or just impossible to get. It's crazy.

We paid cash for the birth of our 2nd child and overall wasn't that bad....about $5K.

I am lucky to have good insurance from my company. But I still opted for an out of hospital birth. A midwife birth is only $6K (prenatal, birth/delivery and postnatal). I chose this not because of price or that I wanted to have an "organic" birth but because they had the best stats in my northern Virginia area.

But it does make you wonder if more people chose a midwife birth, there might be less C sections (NOVA average is about 40% ) and the cost of insurance might go down too.

We had a home birth in new Zealand and paid like $250 for the whole thing - pee and post visits, the tub rental, all of it. It didn't come up, but apparently if we needed a hospital - and we would have had to be helicoptered because we were on a island - it would have been covers as well. We weren't citizens but the state still paid the midwife fees and expenses. and she was great. Damn socialists.

Evelyn- I feel really lucky to have a midwifery practice that is right across from and delivers at our local hospital. I was able to have two totally natural births attended to by wonderful people and it was all covered by my insurance. I don't know why there aren't more practices like this nation wide. I totally take it for granted.

So which companies/policies are the GOOD ONES?? Which one is Ms. Wildman on now after her escapade? Is there a list of 'bad ones' to steer us away from them? My husband and I are among those million+ uninsured. We have a tiny bit in savings (for our infant-- who *is* insured), but that's too much for Medicaid; yet we don't make enough (working 3 jobs between us!) for a 'good' insurance. So we're left with catastrophic it seems..

Is there any decent website out there to guide one through these troubled waters??


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