Will an Insurance Company Know What’s Best for Your Family?
My name’s Tom, and I’m nine-years-old, but I’m pretty smart for my age. I want to share my story about how an insurance company really messed up our lives.
My mom came home from work one day with some pretty bad news. She told my dad that her boss had changed insurance companies. Mom had this brochure in her hand, and she was crying.
They didn’t know I heard them, but I remember Mom telling Dad that we wouldn’t be able to go back to my doctor any longer. This new insurance was making us go to another clinic.
I ran back to my bedroom and told my brother that we wouldn’t be able to see our favorite doctor anymore. Changing insurance was a huge deal because my little brother had something wrong with his immune system. They called it Severe combined immunodeficiency, SCID, (mom had it written down on the calendar) but I just called him “Bubble Boy” when I wanted to get under his skin.
Anyway, this was a big deal for my family.
Mom was the first one to go to the new doctor.
She wasn’t happy when she got home. I could hear she and Dad whispering in the kitchen. It was something about how long she had to wait and how much time she lost at work. She was going to have to work on the weekend to make up the time. They always told her she had to work double time for any family leave she needed during what they called “Prime Business Hours.”
That meant we wouldn’t be able to go to the beach that weekend. I was upset over that, but I didn’t let my parents know I’d heard them talking.
When they finally saw her, they gave her a prescription, but it cost way more than it did on our old insurance. I heard her tell dad that we’d all have to cut back so the money wouldn’t run out before the end of the month.
I got sick right before Christmas. Mom kept taking my temperature, and she wouldn’t let me go to school. She was always really nervous whenever anyone got ill because it was dangerous for my little brother. I stayed away from him, but I was still scared I’d make him sick too.
Mom told me she made an appointment at the doctor’s office.
I asked her if we were going to my regular doctor. Her mouth got all funny when she told me, “No, we’re going to the new doctor. It will be fun. You’ll see. We’re going to make you all better.” It looked like she was trying not to cry or something.
I hoped I’d like the new doctor. Mom looked scared. I wanted everything to turn out well because she worked so hard to make money to help take care of us. Dad did too.
Mom Was Proud of Me
The new doctor’s office looked like my old one, but the people there weren’t as friendly.
Their waiting room was full of people waiting. I’d never seen so many in my real doctor’s office.
He was such a nice guy. Our old doctor didn’t look at the clock when we came in. He always leaned back in the chair with his hands behind his head and made Mom feel like she was his best patient ever. It didn’t matter how long it took or how many questions she asked, he always took the time to listen.
Mom signed a sheet of paper that we were here. She let them make a copy of her new insurance card.
It seemed funny at the time, but they didn’t give her a form to fill out about me like my old doctor had.
They finally called us into a little room.
A lady came in and said she was the new doctor’s nurse.
She asked my mom about my symptoms.
Mom told her I had a sore throat, bad cough, and my temperature was 102 degrees.
The lady took my temperature and looked down my throat. She told us to wait; she was going to get some penicillin and give me a shot. She said I’d feel better soon.
When she left the room, I looked at my mom and said, “I don’t want to stay here. They didn’t have you fill out any papers about me when we came in. I’ve never been here before, and they should have asked lots of questions. They didn’t even ask if I was allergic to penicillin. Grandma’s allergic to it! I want to go back to see my ‘real’ doctor.”
Mom looked at me like I was some college professor or something. She gathered up our coats and told me to follow her. She helped me on with my coat as we walked right out of that doctor’s office and back to our car.
When we got in, I noticed she was crying. She kept apologizing, saying something about ‘the child is smarter than the adults.’
We went right back across town to my old doctor’s office and registered at the emergency desk. She told them we didn’t have an insurance card.
I was so glad to see my old doctor. He knew everything about me and what medicines would work and what wouldn’t.
Mom Told Dad How Smart I Am
I grinned from ear-to-ear that night at supper. I felt like a Superhero when Mom told Dad about everything that happened.
She shared with him that I was smarter than any of the people at the new doctor’s office and that she would never take either of us back there again. I nearly choked on my supper when she told him she’d clean toilets if that’s what she needed to do to get us good medical care.
It took two years, but Mom finally got a job at another company. I felt bad because now instead of getting to work in like five minutes, she had to drive over an hour into downtown Minneapolis to work.
I guess that just proves that moms and kids are smarter than the insurance companies. We know what works and what doesn’t. It should be up to us who we want to see when we’re sick.
What Do You Do?
I hope you have good health insurance. It’s critical. Mom and Dad had some huge bills they had to pay off from those two years when they were responsible for our medical bills. That was the price we paid to get good care.
Thanks for listening to my story. I hope you never find yourself where we were. It’s awful to be sick and too poor to go to the doctor. Mom always made sure to take us, but she went for two years without going to the clinic or a dentist.
We kids knew she was saving money to be able to take care of us. She lost a tooth because she didn’t tell anyone it hurt. I cried in my room where she couldn’t see me when that happened.
Kids should be able to get good medical care and so should their parents. I’m not old enough to figure out what the problem is, but I think it has to do with greed and profits. That’s really too bad because there are lots of kids out there like me. Their moms are probably crying too.