Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Kaiser to the Rescue!

The final word came in today: Our application for Kaiser Permanente's Child Health Plan was approved! That means that Ethan will be covered from September 1, 2009 through 2011, at the incredible cost of $15 per month. In fact, the well-child visits are free (to 23 months), immunizations are free, and regular visits are only a $5 co-pay. How unbelievable is that? I mean, the only way we qualified for Kaiser's plan is because I lost my job, which allowed us to finally fall into the correct income bracket, but still... what a miracle! So far, we've had Ethan covered on Anthem Blue Cross, and we've been paying $67/month-- but the plan also had a $1500 deductible, 30% co-insurance, and a $30 co-pay at each visit. We already hit our deductible a few months ago, when he was sick and there was no other option but the emergency room (since his doctor's office at the time didn't provide urgent care services)... ugh. I knew there was a reason I didn't like Anthem Blue Cross.

There is only one thing that I'm concerned we might lose by going with Kaiser: his current pediatrician. A couple of months ago, we finally switched from his original pediatrician over to Valley Oak Pediatrics. The difference was like night and day; for the first time, we felt comfortable and happy and welcome at his doctor's office. The providers are all very kind and knowledgeable, and his doctor in particular is warm and caring and I just love her. It was so nice to find an office where I could see Ethan coming back for years and years, and enjoying his visits, and actually feeling attached to his doctor, like so many of my friends had said of their own children. At his original doctor's office, there was just zero friendliness. The doctor was very cold, stand-offish, reserved, and clinical.

In fact, his first doctor was also the one who gave us our initial scares about the baby, when we brought him in for his first couple of appointments. The first week he was born, she had me take him in for a chest x-ray, telling me that not only was his jaw very recessed (!), but that his chest cavity was much too narrow and that I needed to get it checked out immediately. Hellooooo!!! Talk about nerve-wracking. In the x-ray waiting room, I felt like bawling my eyes out, just thinking about this brand-new baby boy who might have serious medical problems already... but of course, it turned out to be perfectly fine. And his "recessed jaw"? Looks great to every other physician and nurse who has seen him. Oh, and at our two-month appointment, right before I finally cancelled our connection to that office, his doctor tells us that Ethan might have to have a helmet fitted to his skull to help re-shape his head, because it's much too flat on one side. How could we have avoided this, we asked? Oh, you should have been switching his head from one side to the other each time he slept, she said; as in, nap 1 = left side, nap 2 = right side, etc. Um, do you think she might have mentioned it at our *FIRST WEEK APPOINTMENT*, perhaps? Yeah. Anyway, I think you can see why I was pretty upset about it.

But back to the current doctor: I just hope and pray that they accept Kaiser at Valley Oak. Then we can keep going to his awesome doctor for as long as we live here. Woo-hoo!

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