I take a lot of things for granted – given that I live in the most densely populated county in Florida, have good health insurance, and am generally an informed and intelligent person, it doesn’t seem like that much of a stretch to think I’ll be able to find many choices when it comes down to choosing a doctor.
At least, that’s what I thought… When I opened my mail yesterday, there was a note from my health insurance – Blue Cross Blue Shield of Florida – informing me that they just hadn’t been able to work things out with Women’s Care Florida. The contract negotiations weren’t going well and coverage was slated to end on February 29th. WCF is one of the largest OB/GYN groups in Florida, spanning half the state. My all-female practice is a member of Women’s Care Florida. I’d like to keep them as doctors – they’re good, they treat me well, I like their staff… I could go on and on.
After getting a little, um, nervous about that – after all, I really like the practice – I decided to look up what my alternatives are. Well, color me surprised to learn that when BCBS removes the Women’s Care Florida practitioners, I’m left with THREE doctors in a 50 mile radius. That’s right – three. I’m sure they’re good doctors, and nice people – but you must be kidding me. Oh, and then to add to that – I can no longer deliver in my county. I’ve got to drive AT A MINIMUM 40 minutes away to Tampa or Brandon.
Okay, let’s go over one of those first points… I don’t life in BFE Nebraska where my nearest neighbor might be 50 miles away. I live in Pinellas County, which is more densely populated than Miami-Dade. There are a lot of people here… I have three (previously approved) hospitals within ten minutes of my driveway.
I realize health care is expensive. Believe me, I get it. My monthly co-pay went up $350 a month just for the two of us. But it’s not like Blue Cross Blue Shield is passing on their cost savings measures to me. I know insurance is a business, and because I believe in capitalism and commerce, I want them to earn a profit. But this stunt? It’s ridiculous.
Because I know there are more women in this 50 mile radius than can be adequately treated by three doctors. And that folks, is the ball game.
So, what did I do? I started tweeting. And facebooking. And sending a short release to the Tampa Bay Times. I have no idea if any of this will make waves, but it sure makes me feel good. I felt like David standing up to Goliath. Indeed, it’s probably why the 24 individual practices banded together to create Women’s Care Florida.
I got a call from my doctor’s office (and a few from the pissed off members of the social media team at BCBS) thanking me for taking a stand. And also to tell me not to worry – I’ll be covered for this pregnancy. That’s a huge relief, and I’m thankful I’ll be grandfathered in if negotiations go south. But, I’m still worried about an insurance company that thinks three OB/GYNs are enough to cover the Tampa Bay Area. C’mon guys. Get it together.