Vanessa Gonzalez Kraft tries to balance her traditional Mexican-American cultural heritage and Catholic identity, personified by her grandmother La Lupe, with her roles as a young wife and mother.
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Baby Boom 2014
Like any young couple with a growing family, Brandon and I have been discerning and having monthly conversations about when we should have our next child. Recently, the following statement actually came out of my mouth, “Well, Obama’s health care reform will kick-in in 2014 and then we will be able to get maternity care on our insurance plan. Maybe we’ll just have to wait until then.”
Wow. As soon as I said it I was just so disgusted by the kind of system we have that would make it so hard to have kids. Our family planning is going to be based on when a law goes into effect? No way. I refuse to be bullied by the insurance industry into letting it dictate our reproductive planning.
Our mailbox has been bursting at the seams with medical bills the last few months. When I stop to think about all the money we have spent on medical needs in the last year it seriously makes me sick. Granted, Lina is absolutely worth all the bills (those chubby cheeks are so irresistible,) but it doesn’t make the amount of money that is moving from our savings account to the hospital’s or doctors’ or Blue Cross Blue Shield’s pocket any less obscene.
When we got pregnant and found out our medical insurance didn’t cover maternity care, we definitely panicked at first, but eventually figured it out. We talked to the hospital before we had Lina and, if we paid in full before the birth, they would give us a major discount. Done. Our doctor was very kind and gave us a bit of a discount as well. It was going to be a lot of money but we were navigating the waters and saving a little here and there. Additionally, our medical insurance covered Lina from the second she was born so we thought we were in the clear.
But then we got a bill from the hospital for Lina and all her expenses. We called the insurance company and understood they were still trying to work it out. Then we received a note on the bill saying that it had been processed by insurance, but we had to meet the deductible first. Ugh.
We know how important it is to have health insurance, and have never gone one day without it. We have been paying Blue Cross Blue Shield faithfully for years, and are prompt at sending them a check the first of every month. And what did they do? Not cover one cent of my pregnancy — no OB appointments, no ultrasounds, no lab work, no labor and delivery, no postpartum checkups. Not even one single thing for Lina; not her lab work, shots, etc.
To be fair, this is exactly what the insurance told us they would cover. It’s in the contract — the deductibles and the no maternity coverage. So maybe we shouldn’t have been so blindsided. But what gets me is that we live in a system that can leave a family so stranded for such an ordinary event. We know insurance is important in case something catastrophic happens and I’m thankful for that security. But all we did was have a baby — the most natural thing in the world, the natural fruit of marriage. In the last 9 months, less than $2,000 has come out of Blue Cross Blue Shield’s pocket for all of us combined while we have paid over $15,000 for little Lina.
We are wiped out. After all the tallying, we actually would have come out ahead if we hadn’t paid for health insurance over the last 9 months because then we would at least have kept the money we’ve been spending on monthly premiums. People who believe health care reform and insurance reform is only going to help slackers or those who aren’t responsible for their family’s health, well, that’s really not true.
We didn’t go on a crazy spending spree. We didn’t buy top of the line baby gear. We didn’t vacation off the Mediterranean coast all summer. We had a baby. Should it really cost this much? Should we live in a system where having a baby causes a family to go broke — not because of the cost of diapers or carseats or school and college, but solely because of the cost of having that baby? (I know my frustration should also be aimed at the medical industry and the rising costs in this field.)
This is a serious pro-life issue. There are so many people that are so vocal about being pro-life but I hear very few talking about actually supporting women who are open to new life and having babies. They should be breaking down the doors of insurance companies making them cover pregnancies. They should be lobbying the medical industry for lowering how much it costs to have a baby. The way both of these industries are set up, they work in support of profits, not life. No insurance company or group or individual is working toward pro-life goals if they make supporting new life so hard.
The coming of a new life into the world should not have to wait for 2014. The planning for new life should be in God’s hands, not Blue Cross Blue Shield’s hands (or any other insurance company) And I shouldn’t find myself praying that the healthcare reform isn’t repealed so that insurance companies will be forced to provide maternity coverage.
What are we going to do if I get pregnant again? We flat out don’t have the money to pay for it.
God only knows when we will have our next child, but I’ll be darned if I let Blue Cross Blue Shield dictate it.