Then other, more practical questions crept in. Where will we stay? Can we afford the trip? How much of the hospital bill would we need to pay since our baby was a week early and not yet on our insurance?
So many questions went unanswered that day. Even though I felt guilty about pursuing practical matters while our newborn was fighting for his life, I called the business manager at the school where I worked and explained the situation. She said that our baby was automatically on the insurance for 30 days after birth, so there would be no lapse of coverage. Her reassurance lowered my stress level and made navigating the hardest day of my young life easier to bear.
Not every parent of a child with special needs has such a smooth time dealing with insurance companies. Whether your child has a physical or mental health condition, these five tips can make a big difference as you deal with insurance issues.
In a notebook, record the time and date of every call you make. Also jot down the name of the person who answers your call, along with his or her extension. Write down the questions you ask and the answers you receive.
If your child is hospitalized, ask the social worker for assistance. Social workers deal with insurance companies often, so let them do their job while you concentrate on your child.
If your child receives services in a clinic setting, ask them to intervene. Again, they deal with insurance companies every day, and they have a vested interest to collect the money due.
They can give advice about how to proceed or file a complaint. To find the necessary contact information, do an internet search. Type the name of your state followed by “state department of insurance.”
Ask other parents, in person or online, how they deal with insurance companies. Many of them are very resourceful at MacGyvering their way through the health insurance maze. And, who knows, you might make a new friend along the way!
To learn more about special needs insurance issues, check out these posts:
How to apply for SSI benefits for kids with special needs