Friday, December 21, 2012

That'll be $120. Merry Christmas!

Remember last year when I told you we had a minor health scare with Aminah? It basically amounted to a visit to a pediatric nephrologist and two ultrasounds to make sure her kidneys were functioning properly. She was born with a small skin tag on her ear, and since ears and kidneys develop at the same time in utero, her pediatrician suggested we get her kidneys checked out just to make sure everything was working as it should be.

Our pediatrician referred us to a pediatric nephrologist who is one of the best in the business. We are lucky to live near an amazing pediatric hospital that is world renowned and this guy is not only the medical director of the pediatric nephrology program, he also teaches at a top tier university medical school.

Of course after the ultrasounds bills starting trickling in. We quickly met our deductible for the year, even though Aminah was born in October. I never did receive a bill from the nephrologist and at some point I forgot all about it. Until today when the statement showed up.

My portion of the bill for one office visit with this guy? $120. His original bill to my insurance for a new patient visit? $750.

Now, I know I am lucky to have decent insurance and the means to pay this bill. I am not in love with the timing (a full YEAR after the fact), especially because we just splurged on a trip to Disney for Miles' 5th birthday. But you know, I'll figure it out. It will get paid. At the end of the day it is a small price to pay for the reassurance that my baby is perfectly healthy. We are lucky that she didn't need follow-up care. And I know it.

I just still can't believe the healthcare system we have in this country and that we all put up with it. The day I took Aminah for this visit, the office was crawling with kids, from newborns like my daughter, to tweens. Some of them had obviously been coming there for a long time and knew the office staff well. That was so heartbreaking. What kind of bills do those parents get in the mail every month? Can they pay them? What other bills do they put to the side in order to pay the doctors who are keeping their kids alive?

I'm sure you all have your own health insurance woes and horror stories, which you can feel free to spill in the comments section. I hope that none of you are surprised with any huge healthcare bills any time soon. Happy holidays!

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