Wednesday, October 28, 2009

$22,000 Baby

health care, insurance, reform, pregnant,

Another reason we need health care reform.

Our six-month-old daughter cost over $22,000.

You’d think, with a number like that, we must have used fertility treatments—but she was conceived naturally. You’d think we went through an adoption agency—but she is a biological child. So surely, we were uninsured.

Nope. Birthing our daughter was so expensive precisely because we were insured, on the individual market. Our insurer, CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield, sold us exactly the type of flawed policy—riddled with holes and exceptions—that the health care reform bills in Congress should try to do away with. The “maternity” coverage we purchased didn’t cover my labor, delivery, or hospital stay. It was a sham. And so we spent the first months of her life getting the kind of hospital bills and increasingly aggressive calls from hospital administrators that I once believed were only possible without insurance.


They paid for insurance, and then paid again when their insurance didn't cover a thing. Yeah, we just have the bestest health care system in the world.


  1. But you MUST AVOID TEH SOSHIALAIZED HELTHCAIR!!11! Who cares if it works very well in every other western democracy in existence, if people’s satisfaction towards the service is always high to very high, if it prevents morbid tragedies and horrific injustices (the kinds of which the U.S. apparently can’t seem to get enough of), and generally improves everyone’s lives by a sizable factor? It would be RUIN and COMMUNISM in America!!!

    … Sorry, just kinds sick of all the ridiculous, debunked and retarded claims against socialized healthcare. Seriously, any cranks who claim government-run healthcare is the devil’s plaything when their own system is hopelessly drowning in shit really should be slapped around stupid.

  2. The health care "system" does not equal the insurance industry. Pretty much everyone recognizes that there are massive problems with the way insurance is handled in the U.S.

    The difficulty is in how to address those problems without lowering the quality of coverage for those who already have good insurance (and or raising their costs), and without creating all sorts of new problems and costs.

    As for socialized healthcare.. The U.S. already has it for a signficant part of the population in the form of Medicare & Medicaid. And no, it isn't some sort of panacea. There are all sorts of substantial critiques of single-payer systems. Any type of overall system has its benefits and drawbacks. Most people in the U.S. with decent insurance coverage are not longing to switch to the benefits provided under Medicaid, nor are they looking to pay higher taxes to support a greatly expanded public system. Medicaid programs in many states are already sucking up huge amounts of money as it is.

    The U.S. has a hybrid public-private system and will have one for the foreseeable future. Overall it works infinitely better than most people screaming for more government involvement acknowledge. That's not to say that there aren't all sorts of major problems that need to be addressed.

  3. Also, I'm not sure what kind of research the author of that article did into individual plans, but her difficulty in finding maternity coverage is pretty hard to believe. I just spent five minutes on I got quotes for 21 family plans, and 15 of them offered maternity coverage. It sounds like she just got screwed by her particular insurance company, and is taking it out on individual plans in general.

  4. When my wife and I first got health insurance, the plan we had offered $1500 of maternity coverage. On top of that there was some coverage for the baby once she was born. Yes, we paid quite a bit out of pocket, but we knew we would have to, and we agreed to it when we accepted the terms of the insurance contract.

    They paid everything that they promised, and it helped. My wife and I paid the rest out of pocket, which we had been saving up for.

  5. Just wanted to give a brief background on my company, Medical Billing Advocates of America (MBAA). We have over 85 advocates across the country that help consumers fight for a true & accurate and fair & resonable medical bill. As well as fight the insurance company on the patients behalf in making sure they are receiveing full benefit payments. We get calls daily from consumers with different medical billing "horror stories". I did an interview with the New York Times Anna Matthews about few months ago. The srticle was focused on her medical bill from delivery of her baby. Even though she had insurance, we still focused on the bill itself. She was amazed at the errors I pointed out to her and could not believe her insurance paid for such things without even questioning. And we also get numerous problems focused on insurance denials from not-medically necessary to not pre-authorized, and patient's not given the provider discounts from an insurance company for using an in-network provider/facility. Our association has launched a new membership for consumers called MyMedicalBill, educationsl membership for consumers to know things to look for on a bill and what things need to be done prior to, etc. Check it out on and go to MyMedicalBill.


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