Saturday, May 08, 2010

Layaway Payments for Baby Karis?

Today my wife and I recieved a call from the hospital we are planning on having our child born in. They have what they call the Pampers Plan. It is basically a pre-registration plan for your birthing experience so that all the details are taken care of when you arrive.

Part of what they discover through this pre-registration plan is your plan for financing your birthing process. They research your insurance coverage. They ask you to make a plan for your financial liability. This is so, when you are ready to go home with your baby, you do not first have to visit the billing office before heading out. Throughout this process, I thought they were a little bit shady in sneaking this into a meeting that was advertized to be about something else. But I was ok with it. A lot easier than trying to get paperwork done when your wife is in labor.

The call today took things a step further. They were calling to encourage us to make a payment toward our potential deductable of $250-1000. They referred to this payment as a "good-faith payment" toward our childbirth expenses at Parkview Hospital. Thankfully, my wife was able to explain that with the other financial challenges we will be facing, we will not be making a pre-payment to the hospital. She got off the phone and took a deep breathe. When I started thinking about what happened I just got frustrated. A number of thoughts went through my head.

  • What kind of country have we come to where we have to pre-pay for our children's safe entry to the world like we have to pre-pay for gasoline? Can we put kids on layaway like we can for merchandise at Kmart? Will they refuse to serve us if we don't pay ahead?

  • Why do we need to offer "good faith" loyalty to a hospital? What if Jennifer was in Colorado Springs and had to have an emergency delivery? Would we get our money back?

  • If we don't pay our bill, are they going to repo our child? Is our health care system such that we do not really own our children until we pay their lein off?


Stan said...

Wow, I have never heard of anything like that before! It would be interesting to find out if procedure of "hard selling" has history or if it is a new policy of the hospital with the changing of the time and the eventual incorporation of the national medical plan. Perhaps, if they can collect a down payment up front from each patient, that amount can go into a escrow account in which they collect interest consequently, they are making money off of your money without any financial risk. With my temperament, I would go ahead and make a "good faith payment" of $1.00 per week. By the time it took them to account and process that $1.00, it would cost them at east $10.00

Aphra said...

That is kindof foreign to me. In Canada, healthcare covers the basic cost of childbirth

SWG said...

I do think it was a little crass on the hospitals part. But the hospital is a business and businesses need to make money. With Jen's condition and this being a higher risk pregnancy the hospital is a logical place to have the baby. However I would suggest that as consumers we should consider our options. It wasn't that long ago that the majority of babies where born at home and there is a growing number of people choosing that option with trained midwives.

The biggest problem with our health care is that no one knows how much anything costs and so we don't shop around and we expect someone else to pay for it. If we purchased our health care they way we purchased everything else it wouldn't solve all the problems but I think it would improve.