I cried today. A lot. I went to Logan's work this morning to pick out our new health insurance for 2012. As a woman who gave birth by cesarean the first time, it is very important for me to choose the right insurance for my next birth. A majority of doctors do not support VBACs (vaginal birth after cesarean). After attending several ICAN (International Ceserean Awareness Network) meetings and following their posts on Facebook, I had a list of doctors I knew would support my decision to give birth vaginally. I came prepared. We were going to switch to a PPO and I was going to get the birth of my choice.
At the meeting I found out that our PPO had crazy high deductibles.
These were the numbers I was faced with:
PPO Providers Deductible: $750/member; $2,250/family
Non-PPO Providers: $1,500/member; $4,500/family
PPO Providers ANNUAL OUT OF POCKET Maximums: $4,000/member; $8,000/family
Non-PPO Providers ANNUAL OUT OF POCKET Maximums: $8,000/member; $16,000/family
These fees do not include Copay, non-covered expenses, procedures that cost more than the insurance want to cover, etc. Essentially, getting PPO was writing a blank check. It seemed crazy to me. Logan immediately said it was way too expensive to get PPO and I agreed with him. We had no idea what kind of money we would need to shell out to cover our medical expenses. I jokingly asked what happened to Obama-Care and the insurance agent smiled and pointed at a box where it was written that Preventive Care Services "physical exams, preventative screenings, immunizations, health education, intervention services and HIV services" had no Copay and were free. Unless, of course, my provider was non-PPO, then we would have to pay for 40% of the services. That was Obama-Care.
As I listened to her explain the PPO option I saw us becoming poor and bankrupt by medical bills that were insurmountable. I realized PPO might not be the option for us. I began to list the names of doctors that were VBAC friendly... she checked each one in a book listing all HMO/PPO providers, they all accepted PPO but not HMO. We ended up settling for HMO with Scripps. I knew my friend had two VBACs with Kaiser so I told Logan I was going to go home and see how much it would cost to have me have a separate insurance. I walked out of the conference room and burst into tears. All of my dreams of having a VBAC felt like they were disappearing. I couldn't help it. I started to sob with disappointment. I really wanted to have the birth of my choice. I didn't want nurses pushing me around or a doctor who bullied me into doing what she wanted. After two years I was ready to get pregnant and have my baby the way I wanted to and that dream was being denied because of money.
I got into my car and continued to cry, Logan sat next to me and tried to comfort me. He even mentioned maybe we would get on the PPO and deal with the money question later. He was ready to do anything to take away the pain I was feeling. I let him kiss me on the cheek and then watched him walk away to his next meeting. I knew I didn't have a right to demand his attention for the next hour but I needed to feel supported and loved. I drove to my parents' house and greeted my sisters. Their smiles and their youth were a welcome distraction from the reality I faced. After eating too much chocolate, I decided to get on the computer and do my research. My two wonderful sisters babysat Sadie and I started making phone calls. I went down my list and called each doctor's office to confirm what type of insurance they accepted. Everyone chirped at me that they accepted PPO no problem. Sure, no problem. Who the hell can afford PPO though?
The only doctor whose office didn't answer the phone was Dr. Cap. I left a message on his answering machine and didn't expect a reply. An hour later my cellphone rang and it was Dr. Cap's office. Yes, they did take PPO. Yes, that was their preferred insurance. But, if you do have HMO, they can work out a cash deal. Even paying Dr. Cap out of pocket was a better deal than subscribing to the PPO. Other than having HMO, the other prerequisite was I had to be with Scripps.
As I spoke to his secretary my heart leaped with joy. I was going to get my VBAC after all. I was going to have a VBAC friendly doctor and I was already enrolled with the correct group! I was spared the feeling of defeat I suffered through the morning. When I said goodbye I called Logan and told him the good news. I started to cry with relief. I was going to have the birth of my dreams. And if, God forbid, I still need a cesarean with the next labor, I hope I will find comfort and peace knowing I did everything in my power to birth vaginally.
Meet the Blogger!
I'm a mom. A writer. A lover of good fantasy. A proponent of nursing when possible. A birth advocate. I am absolutely horrible at keeping my house clean or the dishes washed or the laundry done. I strongly believe in women having a positive birth. When we start to respect women's rights to birth the way they want, we can start to treat women as equal people in this world.
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