After having emergency surgery in 11/10/2019, I was hospitalized for 4 days. When I got home, the next day a letter arrived from my insurance company denying my hospital stay. Through the pain, I laughed and thought this is not true. In 2 days, another letter arrived saying that my bill would be covered. That was a relief. I had to apply for short-term disability because I would be out of work for 4 weeks. Thankfully, I had applied for the insurance which would guarantee some income. I would be paid through Cigna and my health insurance is with Aetna. Despite having never taken any of my allowed sick leave, I found out that does not matter.
I now know why it is important to complete all those forms for my patients and advocate for them. The problem is this can be overwhelming because you must not only complete the forms but call your case manager. I was confused because I got so may forms in the mail. I called and found out that my doctor had completed them. The ones I received were only copies.
This time around, I did increase my coverage. The bills are rolling in but thank God I have insurance. The total cost will be low because my employer-based insurance has a low deductible and I stayed in-network with my surgeon and was admitted to the hospital where I work. As we look to the election, we must consider how important health care coverage is. If I had to pay the actual cost of my care, I would have to take out a loan. While we ignore the need for Medicaid expansion and cut taxes to the wealthy, Americans are filing bankruptcy because of inflated health care costs, even the cost of a Tylenol is more that one bottle.
I hope that the political debate can shift to real issues: access to culturally aware health care, healthcare costs, social justice, healthy communities and racism. Health disparities in the US are based not only on income but access to care for minority communities. Also, we will have a shortage of primary care providers who are African-American, Hispanic/Latino, and Native American who will practice in these underserved communities. We will have to address all of these issues. Thankfully for me, my African-American female physician who also trained with me was there to get me the care I needed.