I thought healthcare providers were working to decrease costs. But because I gave birth this year, my baby boy is more expensive than other children born in years past.
I’ll back up. In July I gave birth to a very handsome little boy. I’m thrilled to be a mom, but now I fully understand how expensive children are. I’m not just talking about diapers and formula; I’m talking about the cost of healthcare. You see, my son was a breech baby so I had to have a C-section. In the weeks that followed his birth I had a slew of routine appointments with my pediatrician, a visit with the X-ray lab, blood work, and more tests. I got a clean bill of health for my son, thankfully, but I also got several other bills from all these providers—it seems all these visits were not covered by my health insurance.
I, like so many other people in the U.S., now have a high-deductible health plan. In the past, insurance covered me for most general issues; however, now I have to cover a large chunk of change myself before the insurance kicks in. Now, in theory, by having this type of plan consumers will be more inclined to shop around for the best price. Well, I’m a very educated healthcare consumer, and I can tell you that you don’t shop around when you are giving birth.
Nor do you shop around for the best price when you have a newborn baby. Moreover, I have a good friend who is afflicted with stage four brain cancer and she isn’t looking for bargains either. She is going to the hospital that can provide her with the best treatment.
For the mounting bills that I and my friend are receiving, we have more than a few culprits to lay the blame onto: the economy, the hospitals, the insurers, our employers, even our physicians. But no matter who you blame, the fact is that consumers are paying more and the trickle down effects are hitting hospitals, as evidenced by a couple of reports from the rating agencies, Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s.