Tuesday, November 30, 2010

This is gonna cost ya ...


Today, this little girl has displayed more pain and discomfort than I can remember her ever having. She has been clutching her stomach, saying things like "I can't take it!", and saying it hurt too much to sit up or stand.

So I had to take her to the doctor. But, we have just had a job change, and it turns out we didn't actually overlap our insurance coverages - our new insurance starts tomorrow. I didn't realize this, until I'm standing there with a moaning child in my arms, being told to go down and talk to the business office before I can be seen.

So, do you turn around and take the moaning, sick child back to your car and head home? Or do you go ahead and just agree to pay cash? And if you agree to pay cash, how does that affect each choice you make - get the x-ray or not? Run one more test or not?

We had to buy individual health insurance when my husband changed jobs and got this contracting gig. The cheapest full coverage we could find is still costing us $850 a month. I've just had to make that payment, and it hurt. We have to give up some of our frills to be able to afford this, and then I'm standing there wondering how I'll pay for my daughter to be seen today.

This is gonna hurt. This is gonna cost ya. I did it anyway, because I felt like I had to. The good news is that all the tests came back negative, and she didn't have appendicitis (my main fear) or an impacted bowel, or any weird blood work revealing something else wrong. She's still in pain, and they don't know why, but ruling those things out was important.

But imagine for the families that really can't find the money for those monthly premiums, or pay out of pocket for abdominal x-rays. Imagine having to carry that moaning child back out to the car. I really hope the health care reforms actually Do Something as they start to take effect. Because I don't like the way imagining those things makes me feel.


  1. Poor H! I hope that you find some answers for her and are able to ease her pain soon. ::hugs::

    I also feel your pain about health insurance. When I had my first blood clot (and pulmonary embolism to boot), it was on Christmas Eve 1998. My husband had started his state job in November and our benefits did not kick in until December 28th.

    Luckily for us, the hospital was willing to work with us; several fees were actually waived by the doctors who helped me, other things were reduced. We still wound up owing a few thousand dollars but it had originally looked much, much worse.

    I had really resisted going in that night - because I knew we couldn't afford it. It's a good thing I did, because the p.e. would have been fatal if untreated for a day, much less the 4 days until the insurance became active.

    I can only imagine how much scarier it would be as a mom trying to balance health procedures for your kids vs. money in an urgent care situation, or being part of an un- or under-insured family that has to balance that every time someone is sick.

  2. Health insurance isn't part of your compensation?

  3. Masasa - It wasn't this year, because I didn't need it with my husband's previous job situation. They're trying to work something into the budget for next year, but of course, the budget is tight. But they intend to expand my benefits to help somewhat. Dependent coverage is very unlikely, however.

  4. I hope H is better now.

    We've been there as well -- trying to obtain "inbetween" coverage (they wouldn't carry my daughter because of a prescription she takes) and trying to figure out how to afford surgery even with coverage (had to cash in part of our retirement to pay for the procedure, which was outpatient; fortunately we had an additional surgery required in the family that year and had already met the deductible, otherwise we would have been wiped out). It's a scary and precarious situation for many working middle class folks... I can't imagine not having a job or being one of the working poor. I hope change comes soon.

  5. Wow--what a scary and frustrating situation.

    Years ago, my husband stayed with a job that was killing him because I was pregnant and we needed the coverage. I really, really hope these reforms will keep families from having to experience things like that.

    I hope Hypatia's feeling much better now!