As my pregnancy progresses the doctor’s appointments have increased. I have gone from monthly appointments to bi-weekly and in a few weeks will start coming weekly. Oh, joy. Of course this means added drama and stress.
This morning started off on target to be as wretched as every other doctor appointment. Being carless and living in Southeast puts me in a peculiar position in terms of choosing a healthcare provider. There is one hospital in Southeast and to call it subpar would be generous. When I first was suspected I was pregnant (symptoms: missed period & the inability to keep anything down), my friend suggested I go to Mary’s Center. I went there being without a job and thus without insurance and was given excellent care. After my pregnancy was confirmed I met with a counselor who talked with me about my options and gave me 3 months of prenatal vitamins to start immediately.
Well here I was uninsured, unemployed and now pregnant. Mary’s Center assisted me in every step to procure insurance, WIC and multiple types of counseling. I cannot say anything negative about my experience with them and once my funds get right I plan on donating to them. However, since they do not have the resources or facilities that hospitals do I decided with my new Medicaid I would go ahead and find my own doctor. What a mistake.
Problem 1: Finding a doctor who both accepted Medicaid and was accepting new Medicaid patients. This took about a week of calling around to do. Typically, I would assume that most women would prefer (especially when pregnant) to have multiple choices available in terms of doctors. The degree of difficulty I had finding ONE doctor let alone finding multiple doctors to compare and contrast led me to feel forced to choose the one who was available. I have never had a male OB-GYN before and am still not particularly comfortable with him (and his horrible bedside manner is a completely separate post).
Problem 2: Given my location as well as lack of car there aren’t many easily accessible hospitals and I perhaps am being seen at the least accessible one, Georgetown University Hospital. Depending on the time of day my journey can take between an hour and a half to more than two hours during rush hour (that’s one way mind you). So depending on the length of my appointment and what I need done at my appointment (bloodwork, etc.) a doctor’s appointment can be an all day affair. I guess that’s an upside of unemployment, I don’t have to take time off, however it does drain my day and energy. I am very anxious about what will happen when I go into labor. Hopefully I can find a friend to give us a ride or I can convince the ambulance driver to take me to the right hospital.
Problem 3: I don’t know how any form of Medicaid aside from DC works, but DC has 2 plan options. The plans are essentially the same, but have slight differences that I guess I don’t understand but healthcare providers do. After nearly 5 months of going to my current doctor I was informed today that they no longer accept my type of Medicaid. I was told they would “let” me be seen today since I had been seen numerous times, but that I would be billed out of pocket unless I could resolve the issue with Medicaid. For those of you lucky enough to have insurance you might wonder how much a regular check up could cost? This standard appointment consisted of a weigh in, blood pressure check, urine check all done by the nurse and maybe a 5 minute chat with the doctor for a fetal heartbeat check and stomach measurement. The grand total of such a minor appointment? Over $300. Hopefully I can get the cost covered or it will be another unpaid bill lowering my credit score and another hunt while 7 months pregnant to find a new doctor.
If I am unable to resolve my insurance problems I really have no idea what I will do. Maybe I will go back to Mary’s Center and see what options I have for delivery with their midwives. Fingers crossed.