Well, I went to the doctor’s yesterday and it’s official: they confirmed I’m pregnant! And how did they do this? Yeah, they gave me a regular over-the-counter pregnancy test. Just like I could have done again at home. But for some reason, having someone in scrubs tell me I’m pregnant, made me believe it. I’m pregnant! The excitement of all of this finally hit me after I left the doctor’s. We’re going to have a baby!
I loved the doctor I met with and the nurse who talked me through every possible thing about pregnancy was really great, too. But it wasn’t all blissful. This is the part where I start the American Health Insurance Rant. Feel free to skip ahead to the end if you don’t want to put yourself through that.
I was denied health insurance about a year ago because of an abnormal pap smear 6 years prior. At the time I was denied, I was devastated, as I needed to go to the doctor for something rather serious. And then I was pissed. The majority of women have probably or will probably have an abnormal pap at some point in their lives. This is not unusual. So I was basically denied because I was a women. Why is it that an insurance company can deny you for this? It’s bullshit. Because I was denied health insurance, even though I was willing and able to pay for it, I had to call one of the West County Health clinics here in Sonoma County that offer health care on a sliding scale. However, at the time, the Sebastopol branch had a 3 week waiting time, and the Occidental clinic was not accepting new patients. I couldn’t wait 3 weeks to go as I was in need of being seen immediately, so I finally got into the Guerneville clinic. I’ll spare you the details, but fortunately Tim was with me and helped to soften the shock I experienced the first time around. It’s clean, the staff was pleasant and it looks like any other doctor’s office, but the people in it are what makes you feel uncomfortable. Since most of you are not familiar with Guerneville, let me sum it up by saying it’s probably the meth capital of Sonoma County. The people in the waiting room are examples of this, and yesterday was no exception. I walk in to a very overweight couple sitting near the door looking ill, strung out and anxious. I fill out my paper work and wait to get my blood taken. After I return from the painful (I am a wuss) blood removal, a couple has come out from the doctor and are now waiting for their turn with the blood thief. They are cracked out on something, and the woman is bitching at the man for giving her something that I don’t want to know about, and he gets all pissed off and walks away from her. Then in walks a teenager who is completely worn out from the, what, 15 stairs? she had to climb up to get into the office and plops down right in front of me. She sighs and groans, puts her head back on the chair and is all flush and nasally and sweaty. Oh and coughy! Coughing right in my direction. At this point, I don’t even care if she notices, I cover my mouth with my sweater and breathe through that until she leaves.
And this is when I start to get really pissed. What is wrong with our system that here I am, a healthy, non-drug using, middle-class working American WILLING and WANTING to pay for health insurance, and I am forced to go to a free clinic and surround myself in this? Now I am happy that our country offers these clinics, I think that they’re necessary and needed. But if you want to pay for insurance to avoid going to health clinics in the middle of Methworld, you should be given insurance. There should be no other questions asked. I don’t understand how we can have this so wrong as a country, when so many others have it right. And sure Obama is trying to eradicate these loopholes, but I can’t see we’ll ever get it as good as it should be. It’s too late. I hope that I’m wrong, but right now, I don’t see it changing for a long long time. And what are we supposed to do in the meantime? Wouldn’t the insurance companies rather have our money if we’re healthy adults, then deny us? Obviously not.
Now, before my mom freaks out completely, you should know that besides the lobby, this place is very professional and up-to-date, and the doctors are real doctors with real practices that work at the clinics once or twice a week. I spoke with my doctor who also works at the Occidental clinic if I am able to switch my records there now that I am a patient, and she said I can definitely do that. So the next appointment in three weeks will be outside of Methworld (so you can rest a little better now, Mom). Also, now that I have proof from a doctor that I’m pregnant, I can apply for Access for Infants and Mothers (AIM), an insurance given to middle-class pregnant women who are in need of health insurance or a lower co-pay and deductible. I am confident I will receive this, since Tim and I meet the qualifications, and it’s just a matter of time before I can switch to a practice where I will feel more comfortable. And if worse comes to worse, I went over last resort options with my doctor as well. I can continue to go to the clinics throughout my pregnancy and they offer complete prenatal care on a sliding scale (which a friend did at the Occi clinic even though she had insurance because she liked it so much), and my doctor will attend my birth at Sutter Memorial Hospital. She also mentioned that you can speak with the hospital and work out financial details that help lesson the burden of labor and delivery expenses. So although not ideal, it’s not nearly as bad as I thought it was going to be. That is, if it’s a healthy pregnancy and birth. But let’s not go there just yet.
Okay, I’m done with my rant (for now). I’ll keep you updated, but I’m sure in a few weeks all of this will be behind me and I’ll be newly insured. But it still won’t make me any less angry at our health care system.
But guess what, guys! I’m pregnant!