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  #1  
Old 24 May 2014
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Help - Navigating US medical care

Hi,
my wife is 15 weeks pregnant and after riding through South America we are now in the US and looking at the 20 week scan here. HOWEVER we are experiencing major problems trying to find a centre that can do this scan due to a) timing and the need to have all sorts of referrals and apointments well in advance and b) the insane pricing in this country.

We are heading up to Alaska over the next month or so following the coast and then inland. Our timing is flexible but we MUST get this scan.

Can anyone help with suggestions about how to navigate this challenge.

Thank you
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  #2  
Old 24 May 2014
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No direct experience, but I would look up a Planned Parenthood location near you, they may be able to help, or at least refer you to someone who can.
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  #3  
Old 24 May 2014
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I agree. Planned Parenthood is your best shot, or perhaps a local community clinic?

I'm really not clear on how NON US citizens navigate our "evolving" health care system. Hopefully Planned Parenthood can help out.

Don't look for them down South or in any of our Hill-Billy states ... they've bombed most out of existence.

Honestly, I'd get up North to Canada. Free Healthcare for all, far as I know.

All the best for a healthy baby!
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Old 25 May 2014
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Hello Mark and Carlie, A good option for you would be to find a University teaching Hospital. Nearly all of them would help you out without great expense.
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Old 26 May 2014
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Congratulations! Sorry you are having to deal with our awful health care system. I was in a similar boat last year, pregnant & uninsured. Not sure what region you are in but here are some suggestions:

Planned parenthood is a good resource to try. If you go thru them or get referred by a nonprofit provider, the radiology practice that does the ultrasound may reduce or not charge you. I used a midwife practice here in DC (the out of pocket cost for the ultrasound normally is about $900 bit I didn't have to pay.)

You can also call hospitals but you may get a facility fee tacked on. Also expect lots if hold time with the billing depts just to get a price. Maybe try to get in with an outpatient radiology practice. You will probably need a referral.

Don't worry if it's not 20 weeks on the dot. I had that one at 18, it was fine. They should do the anatomy scan with this one, measure all of the bits carefully

Also consider getting the new blood screening materniT-21, it's a fancy DNA test that checks for all kinds of things. Much less invasive than a potential amnio but read up. The test is pricey, about $700 in all but IMHO worth it for more peace of mind. This is one of the companies:
MaterniT21™ PLUS NIPT | Info for Providers

Feel free to PM me or hit me up on FB if you have any other questions. We finished our RTW last October & our daughter is now 4 months old

Good luck!

Si Kailian
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Old 26 May 2014
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mollydog View Post
Honestly, I'd get up North to Canada. Free Healthcare for all, far as I know.
It's not free. Trust me, I pay plenty for it.
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Old 30 May 2014
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The result!

Firstly, yes, a trip to Mexico would certainly have been the option, that is of course if we were heading in that direction. We plan spend the winter down there after the little guy arrives anyway.

Thanks for all your suggestions. The winner for us here was the needymeds site and after many calls found a not-for-profit clinic in Anchorage. They told me what the normal cost is, asked for details about my insurance situation (= none) and then brought a $570 fee down to $280. They have also allowed me to get a referral from our doctor back in Australia which saves time and money for us.

As far as access goes then there are plenty of available time slots and if you can pay the price, they don't care where you are from.

As for claiming complications and trying to get the scan done that way, well, dealing with insurance companies is quite possibly harder than the system that is already in place!

Again, thanks for the advice.
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Old 31 May 2014
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It's not free. Trust me, I pay plenty for it.
Sorry, I'm sure there are costs ... I'm not really familiar with Canadian health care system, just figured it had to be cheaper than here in the US.

Do you pay directly for health insurance? Co-pays? I thought Canada has some sort of "national health" system? Is it all private insurance or a mix of govt. programs and private insurance?

Or ... did you mean you "pay" in HIGHER TAXES ... which in turn covers your health care?

I'm curious what procedures or operations you've had done ... and what the total costs were. I've had quite a bit done here in US, so maybe we could compare. Or maybe your wife has had a baby? Cost?

I'd start with my one million dollar broken leg. That's right ... on million usd.
(yes, I had insurance)

If a homeless person is found sick, dying on the steet in Canada, do hospital authorities put them back out on the street? Or take them in, knowing they can't pay?

Have you spent much time in any BIG US city? Today, because of the Affordable Care Act, things are MUCH better for the poor and uninsured. But there are still plenty of cracks in the system and prices charged for simple procedures are OFF THE CHARTS.

We are headed toward single payer, health care for all system, but are still maybe 20 years away from that. Many will die in the interim. One of the stunning stats is infant mortality, and how it's climbed back up to almost
3rd world levels in the USA among low income folks and in communities of color.
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Old 31 May 2014
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Ozi's in Canada and the medical situation.

"You should be aware that you may be required to pay in full at the time of service for Canadian health services as there is no reciprocal healthcare agreement in place between Australia and Canada."

And I thought all commonwealth countries had a reciprocal medical agreement :-(

Canada | Travel advice | Smartraveller: The Australian Government's travel advisory and consular assistance service

Sorry it's of little help.
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  #10  
Old 31 May 2014
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Nearly everyone pay something to receive care under "Obama care" (ACA)
Only absolute destitute pay nothing. Most pay, but cheaper than most payed before the ACA, and no one can be denied coverage as before. ("pre-existing condition")

Also, Insurance companies can't get away peddling crap coverage that ends up NOT covering when you really need it, then sticking patient with a HUGE bill. Everyone now gets "minimum coverage". Is it perfect? No, but it's a start towards Single Payer.

Under ACA, coverage is broader. Yes, you still have some Co-pays and a monthly bill but you pick your own level of coverage based on what you can afford. My previous Kaiser coverage was $450 a month. Under ACA I get BETTER coverage for $197 a month. (fewer co-pays too)

The sad thing is that most of the "Old South" are not expanding Medi-Care coverage, thus deny health care to Millions of residents under the ACA. These backward states don't accept FREE federal money to insure the populace just to make some absurd "political" point. This will eventually back fire on the far right wing who push this absurd policy. Eventually folks will learn the truth. Who doesn't want Health Care?

But it's complicated and ACA needs improvement for sure. The Right Wing want to abolish it (will never happen) ... but it's catching on now and NO ONE will ever want to go back to being Fooked by crooked insurance companies.
Profit and Health Care DO NOT MIX.

Last edited by mollydog; 1 Jun 2014 at 19:58.
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  #11  
Old 31 May 2014
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Let's review: the OP asked about getting some affordable medical attention as a transient non-resident. That's the subject of this thread.

Debates about the Affordable Care Act are fascinating for sure. Assigning motivation, intent or moral valence to right wing, left wing, "old south" states, and/or insurance companies must be equally so. And yet.....what was the subject of this thread?

Thanks.

Mark
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  #12  
Old 18 Jun 2014
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Health

Doctor a pretty expensive in the US but you can look at natural birth center , they do have the equipment and are way cheaper , don't forget that you can and should argue the price if you go to a regular doctor , they have tendency to charge higher price for people without coverage ( insane no...)
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