Health Insurance, Copays and Back Pain

Apparently, my pregnancy rage has lasted a month! (That’s not true, it’s ongoing, oh well) But I’ve had a lot going on this month – my grad school class just ended, my parents are officially in town for a quick visit before my next class starts, I’ve got endless fatigue issues and nothing is ready for the baby. Which is OK, because I’m only 31 weeks, but is also not ok because I’m 31 weeks.

I’ve been dealing with some serious low back pain, so I finally sucked it up and started going to a chiropractor. And she is made of magic and kinesio tape. A few adjustments and everything is calming down a lot.

But it’s frustrating because of cost. My employer considers chiros specialists and specialists are a $50 copay. I find this so incredibly frustrating. It’s only $15 more per visit than the 2013 rate of $35, but are you really going to spend $50 for a mole check at your dermatologist, even if they and your PCP think you need one annually? When you sprain your ankle and need physical therapy 3x a week for a month, are you really going to spend $600? No, you’re not. You’re going to live with the pain / uncertainty until the problem escalates.

Also, every single fucking visit to the midwife is $50. Every one. Let’s consider they want to see you at 12 weeks, once a month after that until 28 weeks, biweekly until 36 and then weekly. That’s 13 visits, over $500. IN JUST COPAYS. Is that really encouraging me to invest in the health of my baby? Compare that to Kaiser, who (I believe) waives copays for maternity care and for children under 5. Because they understand that preventative care IS FUCKING WORTH IT IN THE LONG TERM and not worth pawning the costs off on the individual. I really hate my current insurance plan, but I mostly hate that my employer has decided to pass the costs on to their employees in both higher copays AND raised premiums (and then sends out emails announcing the changes touting how affordable they are).

Anyway, the chiropractor (who specializes in pregnant women) is made of magic and is $50 a visit, twice a week. I’ve already spent $250 off my FSA that was supposed to go towards delivery costs or my $850 deductible for delivery. I’ve got one more for tomorrow and then I think I have to downgrade to once or twice a month.

I’m just not sure I can justify pulling more money out of my savings for my temporary comfort.

And that sentence pretty much sums up everything that’s wrong with the American health insurance system.

Edit: I wrote this in a fit of cranky and realized later my privilege is showing. I’m fortunate to have health insurance and income to cover co-pays. Many people don’t. Health care costs in this country are outrageous and having a child or an illness shouldn’t bankrupt them. My original point is more that high co-pays discourage people from getting care. It’s savings in the short term which can raise costs in the long and that is just antithetical to me.


One thought on “Health Insurance, Copays and Back Pain

  1. Meg Keene (@MegKeene)

    Kaiser does do that. Interestingly, as a literal Kaiser baby (it was founded one town over from ours. My Kaiser number is very low) I think it’s because Kaiser serves a much less privileged population. In Oakland it’s a pretty clear breakdown: the poor are at county hospital, the blue collar/ lower middle class/ middle middle class are at Kaiser Hospital, and the white people 😉 so to speak (the upper middle class, you know) are at the private hospital. It’s not totally uniform obviously (we’re at Kaiser, but we’re also all Kaiser babies in this family), but it’s rough. SO. hence. No copays for mandatory care.

    PREGNANCY RAGE IS TOTALLY A THING. I feel rage just thinking about being pregnant.


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