I'm a Military Blogger


Thursday, November 10, 2011

How Insurance Ruined My Pregnancy

(I'm pregnant, did I mention that? Yes, 3 years paid off and we didn't even need to start fertility meds). maybe insurance didn't ruin the ENTIRE pregnancy. Morning sickness and my insane amount of bloating have already ensured that this pregnancy was ruined long before beaurocracy even played a part at all.

As a first time TTCer, I had...expectations. Expectations about how I was going to endure pregnancy, expectations about what maternity styles I was going to wear, and expectations about how I wanted to give birth. So, of course, it stands to reason that I sit here in my living wearing sweatpants the size of a tent (and I'm only 12 weeks, Jesus), gaping down at the mysterious fat rolls that suddenly appeared out of nowhere, crying because I can't have the birth I want.

Why can't I have the birth I want? Because I live in America, where ones prenatal care and birth options are decided upon by socio-economic status. And I want to give birth in my own home. But unfortunately for me, everything about my pregnancy, from the cost of a flu shot to the hospital I deliver at was pre-determined by my insurance companies, before the sperm even met the egg.

I thought I would be in a better standing. I have 2 insurance plans, for crying out loud! I live in a progressive state with better birth legislation! In California, insurance companies are almost required to cover home birth. The state even has their own licensing program, where women can become Certified Professional Midwives. Status as a CPM guarantees that you can accept almost all California insurances, including Medi-Cal.

But I don't have Medi-cal. I have Tricare. And Blue Cross.

Tricare is better than Blue Cross. They'll cover a homebirth 100% if I had a Certified NursesMidwife. Nevermind that CNM's are the least likely to actually attend home births and they work almost exclusively in hospitals. Blue Cross, on the other hand, almost laughed me off the phone. By the time the conversation with the benefits agent was over, not only did I feel like I wasn't even taken seriously, but I was also told, flat out, that my plan does not cover home birth. It doesn't cover birth centers. It doesn't cover midwives...ay kind of midwife. Not LM's, CPM's, or CNM's. They cover obstetricians and only obstetricians.

Most people would say so what? Give birth at the damn hospital. I mean, your hospital is ranked very high in the nation for women and children, so high in fact that they boast an obscene number of births per year, with state of the art equipment, highly trained staff, and top notch post natal care.

But for me, I don't care about that. I don't care that my hospital delivers a million babies per month, or that they have a rolling glow-in-the-dark NICU that runs on fairy dust. I don't even care that the post-delivery meal is a steak garnished in gold leaf (clearly I'm exaggerating, but you get the idea). What I care about is that it's not where I want to give birth. It's not my home.

And it doesn't matter that they have all that fancy stuff. That just means more interventions for me to turn down. No, I don't want an IV. I don't want fetal monitoring. Don't come near me with an epidural needle, and for Christ's sake don't make me lay on my back, legs splayed in the air, like a thanksgiving turkey waiting to be stuffed.

Why is this the norm in America? Why is pregnancy care determined by your employer's insurance plan? By all accounts, I clearly have very excellent insurance coverage that many people would feel lucky to have. So why do I feel jealous of the Medi-Cal patients? They get the homebirths. And I get to feel like a cog in a wheel...a wheel that is supposed to be the beautiful, unmedicated home birth I've been dreaming of for over 3 years, that's been replaced by a sterile white room filled with people who's only concern is how long until I end up on the C-section table.