Posted by: preemiedad | August 31, 2007

Welcome, Welcome!

Hello everyone,

I really don’t know if anyone is even interested in reading a blog by me, but I thought I would finally give in and give it a try. For now, I suppose I will just introduce myself and tell a bit of my story to anyone who wants to listen.

My name is BJ. I grew up in northern Utah, living there pretty much my entire life. About 3 years ago I got married to the most wonderful woman around these parts, and, while now I know what love really is, I also have never known what stress is until now.

About 2 years and three months ago, we were blessed with a beautiful baby boy named Elliot. He was born at 29 weeks 6days gestational age. Yes, that is correct, he was born 10 weeks and 1 day early weighing 1 lb. 12 oz. (806 grams). This wasn’t so bad. It was quite stressful and made us worry a lot about him, but in the back of my mind I always knew that he was going to be fine coming through that. And fortunately, he made it through that, coming home after the entire 10 weeks somewhere around the 4 lb. 8 oz. mark.

After this hospital stay is when thing started going crazy. The bill for his hospital stay was 30 pages long. Anyone who has had a hospital stay ever should realize just how long that really is. Within the first 24 hours of his birth, we had blown past our health insurance deductible and our family out-of-pocket maximum and everything was being paid for 100%. That was great for us! Or so we thought.

At the end of 2005, I switched jobs. Just our luck, though, Elliot never entirely “outgrew” his prematurity and we hit our deductible in December 2005 again. In January, he contracted RSV and stayed in the hospital for 6 days causing us to hit our deductible and out-of-pocket maximum yet again (in 2006).

Around March of 2006, I lost my job and was forced to get a new one, which was fine. It was a better fit for me anyway. Things were going well in 2006 and we thought perhaps we would go through a year without another hospital stay. Unfortunately, on Christmas Day 2006, Elliot contracted Rotavirus and stayed in the hospital for 4 days causing us to yet again hit another deductible and out of pocket maximum. This was probably the worst Christmas we ever had.

And finally, in April 2007, Elliot got a disease which we never found out what it was. It caused him to throw up quite often and he was put in the hospital for one day.

I guess the reason I am writing all of this is that it is hard to understand the weight of financial burden that some people must go through until you have thousands of dollars of medical debt that won’t go away and causes you to lose control of your financial situation. It really is a difficult burden to bear, and I would love any comments on how to overcome that hurdle!

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Responses

  1. Financial burden is one of the long term issues related to prematurity, for sure!

    We filed bancruptcy a year after our preemie was born. Our health insurance wouldn’t cover any meds that were used off label. The bill was over $75,000, just for those meds!

    She is almost 9 years old now and we still go through many medical tests/procedures each year.

    As far as help… check with your hospital. Many hospitals have a financial aid policy or charitable funds that can help with your bills. We moved to a new state a few years ago. The programs in our “home” state were almost always based on salary, and we never qualified. But, our new state had programs that looked at all of the expenses of the family and thankfully we did qualify once.

    Also, any time you can, use a Shriner’s Hopsital. They are wonderful with financial assistance.

  2. We live in the West so they have IHC hospitals here. They do have financial aid, and they have helped us a small amount, however it sounds like we are having problems similar to you. I feel like they don’t even look at our financial situation when we send them a request, they just say “Oh, he makes this amount of money, he should be fine!”

  3. Thank you for your informative blog. I was searching for info on preemies and “Preemie Dad” caught my eye. For the past 6 weeks on bed rest I have read many blogs written by women. Its neat to see into the mind of a preemie daddy.
    We are facing the possibility of a preemie. We have already reached our deductible due to me being in and out of the hospital to prevent preterm labor. I looked into Food stams and WIC however my husband’s incoe disqualifies us for help. Not that we can actually even AFFORD to pay for gas and food after the mortgage, utilities, car payment, car isurance, medical insurance, childcare, etc is paid. We were a two income familiy that was suddenly forced into one income. I cannot work because I am at serious risk to go into preterm labor-the great state of Florida does not consider pregnancy complications like these as a disability…Only 8 states of the union made provisions in their laws for this kind of situation.
    So, I too have to decide between feeding my family and paying the bills….Letting my credit fall behind for short term relief-and not being able to refinance out of my ARM mortgage in one year before it adjusts. These are scary times. Thankk you for pointing out the choice between family relationships and family survival…
    Thanks for letting me vent.

  4. Thanks Ashley. I write this blog to vent for the most part, but also to tell people who are interested how difficult the financial side of having a preemie is. I don’t think many people think about that.


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