Friday, August 31, 2007

My biggest, hugest pet peeve

The American health care system. It totally sucks.

Listen to this. Last Saturday, child#3 was off camping with another family. He gets stung by a bee on his finger. His finger swells. The mother calls me. I'm at a local Japanese restaurant with dh and Child #4. We discuss giving him some Benadryl. The mother calls again. Now Child #3's hand is swollen AND the swelling is moving up his arm AND he's starting to have trouble breathing. She's taking him to the closest ER. The retaurant hands us our sushi in a to-go box. We jump in the car and head an hour up the highway to the hospital. By the time we arrive, child#3 is hooked up to an IV and a variety of monitors. Plus he's sound asleep thanks to the medications. His breathing is now okay. Phew.

On Monday, I follow the instructions on the back of my plastic health care card and call our health insurance company, BLUE CROSS. I report Saturday night's events.
"What is the zip code of the hospital?" Mr. Blue Cross asks.
I tell him.
There's silence whle he looks it up on his super-duper Blue Cross computer. "That hospital isn't a preferred provider," Mr. Blue Cross says.
"But he was having trouble breathing," I say.
"It definitely sounds like it was an emegency situation," Mr. Blue Cross agrees. "But our preferred provider in that area is hopsital X."
"But hospital X is further away," I say. "You heard me say child#3 was having trouble breathing, right?"
"I did," Mr. Blue Cross says. "You absolutely did the right thing....but we won't pay."

Arrgh. I'm so annoyed I can't even think of a decent end to this post.


Gina Black said...

Gawd. If I were you, I'd be having trouble breathing.

I'm still PO'd about insurance situations from 25 years ago. Shall we start a revolt?

Maybe it's just time for bed.

Barrie said...

Gina--I think a revolt would be great! The system so, so broken. :(

Must hop over to your blog. I didn't realize you were back.


Sandy Levin said...

Glad to hear child #3 is fine.

Have you seen Michael Moore's movie Sicko?

You can appeal the charges.

Barrie said...

Hey Sandy! Welcome back to this side of the pond!! No, I haven't seen Sicko. However, my pediatrician suggested I watch it!! He also said that health insurance companies make more money the more mistakes they make. And he advised calling back. So, I will. Even though i don't think I should have to because...see how I get wound up!

Sandy Levin said...

Don't get too wound up.

Switch to decaf and take a deep breath. :-)

I've gotten to the point of carrying around my medical records when I travel - with all medication, emergency and hospital information. It sounds like overkill, but if you don't want to fight with your insurance company, that may be the way to go.

Barrie said...

You know, Sandy, there's definitely something to be said for being armed. Which I would be if I had all our medical records at my fingertips. Because of this situation, I'll definitely find out where preferred providers are before I go on vacation.