Healthcare in the United States is admittedly very frustrating. The last year has been a HUGE learning experience for me when it comes to healthcare.
Last summer I found myself in between insurance for two months. Our new insurance plan didn’t kick in until September and our old plan expired on June 30th. I could have purchased COBRA, but with a $3000 price tag for two months I decided to take my chances. I figured what could go wrong? Well, you probably know where this story is going.
In literally the last week of August my 2-year-old was breathing really strange and gasping for air. Having never seen anything like this before we didn’t want to take any chances so we took her to the emergency room at 11pm. Oh, and this gets worse. The first emergency room we went to at South Miami Hospital told my husband they couldn’t treat my daughter because they don’t treat children. So you’d think we could leave and head to another hospital right? Nope, that’s not what happened. They told us because of her “condition” (a condition they admittedly said they couldn’t diagnose) that they needed to call an ambulance to take us to the next hospital. My husband stressed he could drive her, but they refused. It was as if she was being held captive and he was a bad parent for wanting to get her good medical help quickly. When he told me they were calling an ambulance I got very worried and decided to the hospital. I had to wait for my dad to get to my house to watch my 5-year-old and then drive to the hospital so that took awhile. I figured by the time I got there she would already be at the next hospital. Strange thing is when I arrived at South Miami they hadn’t even called the ambulance yet. There was clearly such confusion and dare I say malpractice on the part of this hospital. It was as if this was their first day in business and no one knew what they were doing. Clear incompetence. I repeated what my husband said that we could drive her, but they shot me down as well. They gave her a breathing treatment, but still said they had NO idea what was wrong with her. Eventually after I kept asking they finally called an ambulance. I seriously have no idea why they let so much time pass when they say they thought it was an urgent situation (we are talking 90 minutes). While waiting for the ambulance a nurse tried to administer an IV, he said it was just in case she needed it. They honestly couldn’t give a reason why she may need it and he also said he didn’t have the tools to properly put an IV line into an infant and despite poking her several times it never worked! I was so sad for my daughter because he was creating such pain for her for no reason. This shouldn’t have happened.
To make a long story short she was mistreated at this hospital, but finally the ambulance arrived and took her to Baptist where she was diagnosed the second we walked in the hospital. A nurse heard her breathing and said “sounds like she has Croup.” A medical condition a beginning medical student should be able to diagnose. I now know it’s a condition that doesn’t even require a hospital visit, should have been obvious for any trained medical professional.
After all that you’d think I would NEVER have received a bill from that first hospital right? Well you’d be wrong. They sent me a bill for $2982 and I also got a Doctor’s bill for a few hundred. I spoke with the medical director of the ER who quickly threw out that Doctor’s bill because she understood what happened to us wasn’t right, BUT the hospital is still refusing to throw out the bill saying she was technically treated because they gave her some medicine and a breathing treatment, checked her vitals and what not. There is also some misinformation in their report though. For instance it says she was administered a bag of IV fluid. Interesting since the IV line never worked! What it comes down to is we shouldn’t have to pay for bad medical care (and I’m still fighting it). If you get a bad meal at a restaurant you can send it back, but a hospital seems to think they have Carte Blanche to treat you crappy, with no repercussions.
With all that in mind the big question I was left with is what can we do to take more control of our medical care?
First off I know how important insurance is and I’ll never forget that, BUT sadly I also know that sometimes you either can’t afford insurance or have a situation where you may be in between plans. So if you find yourself in a situation like I was in just be as knowledgeable as possible. I had just moved here from NY and didn’t do my research. After I went to South Miami hospital that night so many people asked why I went there when they are so horrible for kids? Problem is I didn’t know that beforehand. You’d never think a hospital would say they can’t treat children, but now I know better. So if you don’t know which hospitals in your area are best for you and your whole family research it now.
Also I am thrilled to have found MDSave. If you don’t have insurance or just can’t find a doctor you like for a certain treatment this is the site for you. This is a health care service unlike any other that benefits both the patient and their provider. The CEO Paul Ketchel offers a forward thinking perspective on the state of healthcare in the U.S. and how to provide solutions within the complex structure of the Affordable Care Act.
Acting as a transactional health marketplace, MDSave currently serves millions of Americans struggling with the expense of high insurance deductibles. Think of it as the Expedia or Amazon of healthcare. MDSave offers transparent pricing for medical procedures and has negotiated exclusive savings up to 60% on medical care like, surgeries, x-ray, office visits, and pharmaceuticals. Providers also benefit because when a patient books an appointment by means of MDsave, payment is delivered to the provider within six business days, as opposed to the general 90 to 180 days.
Ketchel began the company with the intent of helping the thousands of Americans who have high-deductible health plans and are looking for the best way to spend their money, and for those that have continued to go without health insurance entirely. As an affordable healthcare advocate, both politically and within the industry, Paul has helped advise members of Congress on policy positions and worked with national healthcare associations.
Lastly if you can afford it I also learned you not only need insurance, but you need the best insurance possible. I recently switched insurance companies because I joined on that had a low deductible. I was so focused on that low deductible that I didn’t realize the network of Doctors was really lacking. I couldn’t find one dermatologist in my area that took my insurance. I’ve since switched to a plan that basically covers every doctor at some level.
I’m hoping my healthcare woes are behind me and hoping this helped at least one other person with their healthcare issues.