Over the past 21 months, my family has participated in a wild ride with health insurance. The experience has been enlightening, incredibly frustrating, annoying, confusing and intimidating. Can I get an “Amen!” and a witness?!?! In this series on health insurance, I am going to share my experience AND some helpful tips on saving money on health insurance.
Part One Introduction
If you have been a regular reader of JosephSangl.com for awhile, you know that our family has witnessed an incredible miracle over the past year with the arrival of our son, Keaton.
He showed up after ten years of trying for a second child – including an IVF attempt. By a miracle of God, Keaton showed up. By the ridiculous nature of health insurance, we got to pay thousands of dollars in medical bills.
In fact, I wrote about it in my Sunday newspaper article. I will let that article be the introduction to this series. I know that it is a bit long, but I think it really sets up this series well.
One Man’s Wild Ride With Health Insurance – Sunday, 8/2/2010 – Anderson Independent-Mail
There have been enormous amounts of discussion, writing and conversation regarding health insurance reform. A health care bill has now been passed through Congress and signed into law. Call me crazy, but when 100-percent of one party is against a bill while nearly all of the opposing party is voting for a bill, it is not in the best interest of the American people.
Most Americans have a health insurance story to tell. Today I want to tell you my wild journey with health insurance over the past 15 months. In June 2009, I embarked full-time into this crusade to help others accomplish far more than they ever thought possible with their personal finances. This meant that I was going to be giving up health insurance from my employer, who had an exemption from providing COBRA benefits. This is where my problem began. Because I would be unable to continue insurance via COBRA, I had to find new insurance immediately. I attempted to obtain an identical individual health insurance plan which included maternity coverage. The insurance company informed me that because I was purchasing an individual policy, I would be required to start at the beginning to obtain full maternity coverage benefits. In other words, they would only pay 5-percent of maternity costs if a pregnancy occurred in the first year, 60-percent in the second year and 80-percent in the third year. Only after four years of paying premiums would I be provided 100-percent coverage for maternity.
The insurance provider established this requirement even though I had maintained (and paid huge money for) full health insurance coverage with maternity benefits included for the previous thirteen years. They established this requirement even though I had held coverage with their exact company for the previous three years!
Truth be told, my wife and I had given up on having a second child. It had been ten years since the birth of our only child. Instead of paying for extremely costly maternity insurance that would provide little payment toward a pregnancy, we opted out. Guess what happened next? Of course! We discovered we were expecting a child just sixteen days after our new policy went into effect.
Our perfect new little boy arrived in February. We saved substantial money by negotiating on our own with the hospital and doctors and paying within 30 days of receiving the final bills. The fact that insurance companies would not recognize previous maternity coverage and extend 100-percent coverage from day one ultimately cost us around $7,500.
My experience has made me understand even more the need for continued health care coverage reform. Even more, I realize how blessed my family has been to be able to pay for our medical bills. Many people can not withstand such an unbelievably high financial penalty.