Health Care

A Non-Grouchy Oscar Update!

LADY ON THE PHONE: Is this Ester?

ME: Yes? Subtext: Unless you have anything stressful to tell me.

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Working While Pregnant

Sometimes the Gray Lady does a good deed. I mean, she spends a lot of time preening, and baiting us with the travails of the city’s most obnoxious, narcissistic 22-year-old as he searches for a $3700-a-month apartment big enough to decorate like an Orientalist bordello, complete with a huge oil painting of himself. But sometimes she also manages to help an unfairly fired pregnant woman get her job back:

Ms. Valencia, who earned $8.70 an hour as a potato packer for Fierman in the Bronx, was told by her supervisors in August that she could not continue working unless her doctor gave her a full-duty medical clearance. (Ms. Valencia, who had a miscarriage last year, was told by her doctor that she should work only eight hours a day, no overtime.) Lawyers for Ms. Valencia said the company had violated New York City’s Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, which requires employers to make reasonable accommodations for pregnant workers. Her story was the subject of a Working Life column on Monday.

My god, what employers will try to get away with when they think nobody’s looking. Sadder still is that most of the time, nobody is looking. If you’re working while pregnant, know your rights.

 

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How to Eat Right, Office Lunch Edition

Keep almonds by your computer. What if I don’t like almonds? Also, they’re expensive. STOP TELLING ME TO EAT ALMONDS, unless you feel like subsidizing my almonds, and/or dipping them in chocolate for me.

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The Cost of Things At My Annual Physical

Yesterday I went to the doctor for my annual physical, another random practice I found on Zocdoc since my insurance is always changing or not existing and, well, I’ve only gotten an annual physical one other time in my life.

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The Real Cost of Prescription Drugs

Last night, I left the office around 8:30 so I could make it to a pharmacy before it closed and pick up some prescriptions. The young woman behind the counter asked me for my name, and then her eyes got wide for a few seconds before she said:

“Your copays are insane!”

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Upselling at the Dentist’s Office

On a recent weekend, I learned that one of my friends had just begun dating a dentist, and later, at a party we all happened to be at, my friend L. wondered aloud if it would be rude to ask him questions she had about her fillings.

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The Cost of Getting Hit By a Car

Those of you who follow my Twitter and Tumblr already know that I got hit by a car on Saturday.

(You also already know that I’m fine, so we’ll just get that out of the way.)

I was walking through a crosswalk in Capitol Hill, and the car hit me in the middle of the crosswalk as it came to a full stop. I was surprised more than anything else, because I saw that the car was slowing down as it approached the crosswalk, which is an everyday sort of thing, and then it drove into the crosswalk and hit me, which is not at all an everyday thing.

Because I was surprised, and because I knew as soon as I picked myself up off the ground that I was not seriously hurt, I didn’t think to get the driver’s insurance, license plates, or contact information. To be fair, the driver didn’t offer it. She got out of the car, asked me if I was okay, I said I was, I started to walk away, some bystanders shouted “get her insurance!” and I turned around and she was driving off.

This meant that later, when I went to the clinic to confirm I was, in fact, okay, I paid the $90 against my deductible myself.

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Tales From EggBanxx’s Let’s ‘Chill’ Ladies’ Nights

Perhaps, after trying my whole life to get straight A’s and excel and do everything perfectly, I don’t want to feel like there’s a “right” way to do my fertility.

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Life and Health at 75

Ezekiel Emanuel, the director at the Clinical Bioethics Department at the U.S. National Institutes of Health, has a provocative piece in The Atlantic this month called “Why I Hope to Die at 75.”

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Why Can’t Every Doctor Take Every Insurance?

When I showed up at my doctor’s office in Manhattan on Monday, I was flustered and exhausted; I had already been to deepest Brooklyn and back (the end of the 2,5 line) to take Babygirl to her new pediatrician’s office. We hadn’t wanted to switch but had to because her old pediatrician, who we loved, doesn’t take her current insurance, which is called Health First Child Plus or something, who knows, they’re all combinations of nice-sounding but meaningless abstract words. Red Star Red Sword sounds like a funny name for an insurance company, doesn’t it, but is that any different, really, than Blue Cross Blue Shield? We’re just used to the latter.

I ranted a bit to my doctor, and her eyes flamed with indignation. “It’s ridiculous!” she said. “I would write about it if I were a writer, but I’m not, so you’ll have to, but everyone says the patient’s relationship with the doctor is a key part of health care. When you have to switch doctors just because you switch plans, everyone loses.”

I certainly lost. Though the new people were fine, I missed our old pediatrician, who had been seeing Babygirl since she was days old, knows her well, and is a brisk ten minute walk from our house. Going to a new place – a much larger, busier practice a much greater distance away — made Babygirl squirrelly, and it cost both Ben and me our morning. It required redundancies, like typing old info into a different computer and answering the same questions over and over, and introduced the possibility of errors with each transcription.

Why can’t doctors offices and hospital accept any accredited, official health insurance? That would solve the horrifying “Out of Network” problem. That’s how it works for cars, right? It’s not as if you can get hit by an SUV making a left turn and then find out that oops your insurance somehow doesn’t take theirs. There doesn’t seem to be much rhyme or reason to why our old pediatrician accepts one Obamacare policy but not another, or why the hospital closest to us accepts only these six and not those seven.

Seriously, what’s stopping government from mandating that every health provider must accept every legitimate insurance? Paperwork? Admin fees? Or is there a bigger problem I’m not seeing?

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Out-of-Network Horror Stories

I want to share this article about surprise medical bills with you but it fills me with so much anxiety I don’t even know where to begin.

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