My second daughter was born this past Tuesday. The nurses were a little concerned about her breathing and took her down pretty quick for a check-up. Like her older sister, my new little girl spent three days in the NICU. Fortunately, she is home now and doing just fine. We found it interesting that both our girls spent the same amount of time in the NICU though for slightly different reasons. Also, we had different health insurance for each pregnancy and birth.
Health Insurance #1
With our first daughter, we had health insurance that pretty much covered everything. We didn’t even have co-pays. Our total out-of-pocket was just a couple hundred dollars. Ignoring the financial benefits, what we really received was peace of mind. For example, when my wife needed the epidural, the answer without hesitation was yes. When our little girl was admitted to the NICO and they needed to run more tests, the answer was please. We certainly were mindful of not being frivolous, but we received the needed health care without sitting in the waiting room wondering how we would ever pay for it.
Health Insurance #2
My company announced last December that starting January 1st, our health benefits would be drastically reduced though the premium stay the same. The HR representative who had to tell 300+ employees about the “good changes” in our health insurance missed her true calling as a car salesman. Within two weeks of the “good news,” we received additional good news – we were pregnant. We had been wanting to conceive, so the pregnancy didn’t come as a complete surprise. This time though, we had a $4000 deductible to meet! We started saving money each month. However, there were complications early on that required 3-4 ultrasounds, medication, and extra visits to the doctor. My wife again wanted an epidural (which didn’t work). Our little girl was admitted to the NICU and given antibiotics. With each eventuality, the thought crossed my mind, “Do we really need this? How much will this cost?”
Are we just being conscientious consumers?
On several occasions during the pregnancy, we opted to forgo a doctor’s visit or prescription medication in lieu of over-the-counter options simply because we could not afford it. Fortunately, we ended up being okay without the extra doctor’s visits and medication. So, did we make the right decision? Were we just being good consumers and questioning each expenditure? Or did we risk my wife’s and baby’s health?
Are we entitled to better health insurance?
There is a health care debate raging in this nation right now. One side says, “Health care for all.” The other side says, “We agree. Just pay for it yourself.” So are we entitled to better health insurance? Absolutely. The question is, who should pay for it? One of the biggest reasons we took my job was the fantastic health insurance. We didn’t know that the company would cut back during a down economy and drastically reduce our benefits. If Obama’s plan passes, my family stands to greatly benefit from government subsidized health insurance. But in an effort to reduce my expenses and provide superior health insurance, I don’t think I have the right to expect another person’s hard work to foot the bill. I believe appropriate planning and work is the answer.
I’m not trying to be political
Though this discussion obviously has political elements. I have simply now experienced both the high and low of health insurance (discounting not having health insurance). My experiences have left me desiring better health insurance so I don’t have the financial anxiety on top of the anxiety of just being in the hospital. And that’s one reason why I’m headed back to graduate school next year to put my family in a better situation with better health insurance.
What are your thoughts and experiences with health insurance?