Friday, December 2, 2011

Angry and Venting

I hate my health insurance.  Hate hate hate HATE.  I want to cry right now.  Or scream.

So a little background.  When I got pregnant with Sly, I was uninsured.  I qualified for medical assistance, and it was pretty much the best thing ever.  I literally owed ZERO dollars for the entire pregnancy and labor (with the exception of a silly $12 charge from the hospital for cable tv availability).  Even though Tom did eventually get hired on at work and started receiving benefits, since I was already receiving the medical assistance, it still applied for me until a short time post-partum.

With my last pregnancy (which ended in miscarriage), I had only the insurance from Tom's work.   I knew we'd have to pay some deductibles and such.  But I didn't realize how expensive it would be.  Now that all the bills have come in (I hope!!) from that ordeal, we've ended up having to pay almost $500 for a baby we never had...for a miscarriage that was early and happened naturally.  Just a few appointments with the midwives, an ultrasound.  Imagine how much it would have cost by the end!

It's making me very worried about how we can possibly afford another pregnancy and labor.

Anyways, I spent a long time on the phone with the midwives billing person, trying to find out why the bills were so high.  The answer we both settled on was this: my health insurance is shit (excuse the French).

I wrote Tom an e-mail complaining about it, and he told me that a co-worker of his had recently visited a doctor, and the doctor informed her that her insurance policy was "the worst he'd ever seen."  AWESOME.

I then spent a half hour on the phone with the insurance company (it's United Healthcare, btw - avoid using them at all costs!!) to try to figure things out.  Amongst the outrageously high deductibles and out-of-pocket costs, there was another problem.  As it turns out, the Midwife Center is not actually in-network as they claimed to be.  Only *particular* midwives are.  If I get pregnant again, I might be able to insist that I only have appointments with those particular midwives.  But what happens when I go into labor?  You're stuck with whichever one is on call.  I explained this dilemma to the representative on the phone, and she launches into a speech about "well, that's the problem with midwives" and goes on, putting them down, and making it clear that she doesn't respect them as professionals.  It made me mad.  She claimed that United Healthcare has the same policy towards all other midwife groups, which effectively prevents me from changing to a different midwife group.

So basically...if I'm still living in Pittsburgh (which I will be) and get pregnant again (which I hope to), I'll have to pay thousands of dollars (that I don't have) for prenatal/labor care.  And I can't have a midwife.  And I'm really upset about that.

Ugh.  Makes it tempting to just go without prenatal care and have the baby at home with only Tom there to catch it.


  1. Gosh that is insane. I live in Canada, land of free health care and cannot comprehend having to pay to have a baby! That is outrageous...

  2. We have Untied Healthcare, too. It is very expensive, but I never had an issue with my midwives not being in network. Maybe because they're part of a larger system associated with United. I think the hospital portion of the bill was about $1500 when all was said and done, and I had less than the "standard" L&D experience-no drugs, only stayed one night.. Each ultrasound was $80, which I can live with. Does Tom's company have the option to set up a Health Spending Account? It helps a LOT. Basically at the beginning of the year you estimate how much you need for health expenses that year, and every month part of the paycheck is put aside for this account, tax free. If you don't use it all you owe the back taxes. But it's pretty flexible as to what qualifies as a health expense. One year we had a few dollars left and I spent it all on toothpaste lol.

  3. Unfortunately, most health insurance plans have very high deductibles. I was spoiled at Propel and had awesome health insurance. We had a high deductible but Propel covered everything but the first $250. And there were no out of pocket costs. Now with Brian's insurance, we have a high deductible again and the cost of having this baby will cost us about $2700 when all is said and done. I would recommend looking into a health savings account. We have one and it has been a life saver thus far. Sure, the pay check looks a little smaller but it is nice to have that account when all the bill start rolling in. So far, we've used it pay for all of my OB visits and ultrasounds. It truly can help a lot.

    It just goes to show that health care is broken in this country. It does need fixed but not the way it will be in January. It will only get worse.

  4. That's awful. :( Keith and I are on different insurance plans at this point (I am still on my parents for free until I turn 26), and both of them are really good at paying for pregnancy expenses ... I had a copay for my first OB visit, and that's it so far. I don't know what they would cover in terms of midwives, though.

    I wish I had something helpful to say ... :(

  5. It dawned on me yesterday, too, that you don't have to pay all of the medical bills all at once. By law, you are allowed to make a payment each month of whatever you want. Meaning you could technically pay $1 each month for each bill and no one could say or do anything about it. Your credit report would also remain unaffected. They may try to bully you into paying more, but you have the right to pay what you can as long as you pay something each month. We plan to make very small payments on our hospital bill once the baby is born so that we don't wipe out savings all at once.

    And I also remember the pain of getting bills when Abby died. It just made the hurt and mourning so much worse. I am so sorry it has happened to you, too.

  6. we live in PA as well. As I was leaving my job that provided insurance, I found out that I could purchase it privately from for about the same price I paid my employers with about the same benefits. It might be worth checking into.

    Aside from all of that, I am so sorry about your loss. We lost one and it was horrible.

  7. Im so sorry for your loss, I too have been though that twice so now my little babies are keeping eachother company in Heaven. One option you can look into is applying again for medical assistance. I had my husbands very stinky medical coverage but the medical assistance picked up the difference which was a huge help. It's worth looking into.
    I also just started reading your blog after a friend on our Pittsburgh Catholic homeschooling list asked us to pray for your family and I just want you to know you have the thoughts, prayers and tears of so many right now.

  8. I just found your blog, and I also live in Pittsburgh. I didn't choose a midwife, but there is one in my OB/GYN practice. She delivered my daughter and I couldn't have asked for anything better. She was amazing! If you would like her information I'd be happy to pass it along. Perhaps you can schedule everything with her exclusively? Maybe it will help with your insurance issues maybe not but if it can help then I'd like to!