Monday, August 16, 2010

On Health Insurance and Parenting

I never thought I'd be the parent who didn't take the kids to the doctor at the first sign of injury or illness.  I certainly never imagined I'd consider the cost of an appointment in my decision, once waiting until my son was literally screaming in pain before taking him in to urgent care (ear infection).  I know I've been very fortunate, in that my kids have rarely been sick and we've always had good health insurance.  It even paid for the IVFs to have one of them.  When I've read blogs about moms waiting out a high fever, because they've been through it, I could never imagine how they avoid full on panic, imagining the worse.  My sister was able to just call for anti-biotics her son had so many ear infections, while we've had a combined total of about 5 for two kids in 7 years.   Even more awful, of course, are stories where a family may have no money to go to the doctor, eventually ending up in the emergency room which of course is even more expensive.

With years of parenting, an unstable job situation and private insurance, I now find myself wondering how I can avoid medical visits.  Being a two parent family, though, I don't get to make all the decisions.  A few nights ago my son was complaining about his knees and  it hadn't gone away by the morning.  His whole body was tired and sore, which can happen after hours and hours of soccer, and he cried until I gave him ibuprofen.  This either helped the pain, knocked him out or had a placebo effect, which is always my first thought, since for some reason I have no trust in medication.  He loves painkillers so I try not to give him too much.  Does that even make sense, or is that just my own warped logic?  Anyway, today my husband took him to the doctor, which meant he missed swimming, plus I have no idea how much it will cost.  I'm sure nothing outrageous, but we're paying a pretty steep monthly fee and are nowhere near our deductible, so we pretty much pay everything now.  I cannot figure out where the monthly fee goes, really.  I sometimes almost hope one of has something serious, so we get our money's worth.  I know, that's utterly crazy, and pretty sure I'm supposed to knock on wood now.

I know we're fortunate, we actually have coverage.  We're converting from COBRA as I write this.  Oddly the quote over the phone was less than the written offer,  but then again they have not read the application, as since we're been covered for like 13 years through my work with this company, I'm sure they'll question everything (yes, I am now totally jaded when it comes to health insurance.)  The insurance sort of sucks, is expensive, and doesn't cover pregnancy unless there are complications.  WTF?  Just another sign from the universe that I likely won't get to fulfill my dream of three kids.

We're also a pretty healthy family, my husband's the only one with somewhat serious medical issues.  Of course this is the longest I've even gone without seeing the doctor, but I'm sure I'm fine.  I do trust my husband, and he's the only person I know who can go to the doctor with a set of odd problems, and instead of diagnosing it as "stress" (can I get a raise of hands here?) they find something serious requiring an operation.  Seriously, he's going on about 14 now, although they are mostly his knees.  (PSA: if you spend your life avoiding strenuous sports you're knees remain in perfect shape.)  I still couldn't keep my mouth shut, though, so he did explain his reasoning for taking him to the doctor.

So to sum up, this really sucks, paying nearly a grand a month for health insurance, plus expensive perscriptions for a really healthy family and then trying not to even go to the doctor.  Something is really wrong with this picture.


  1. Oh, I couldn't agree with you more. With my job being a contract and Aaron laid off, we're currently without health insurance because I didn't feel like paying $800 a month just to cover anything but our pre-existing conditions, which happen to be the very things I need coverage for.

    At the moment, taking either of my daughers to the doctor will cost us $110 for a low-complexity visit - as in, just talking to the doctor, nothing else. Cordy's medication costs us $180 a month right now.

    The sad thing is, we're pretty healthy people. We should qualify for decent health insurance, but we don't. The system totally sucks.

  2. Wow, very depressing post.