Entering a Vastly Different Healthcare System Requires Forethought and Planning
We had our own room in Cedars Sinai hospital – coming from the UK it seemed like a 5-star hotel. My newborn son peered up at me. His mother lay exhausted after a 20-hour labor and it suddenly occurred to me that our hospital stay was about to extend past 24 hours. But would the insurance cover it? In a panic, I tried to contact the insurance company. This was my first wake up call to the difference between the British and US healthcare systems and how, as an ex-pat from the UK, I might be in for a rude awakening.
My next was a year later after a $15,000 surgery to fix a deviated septum. I could no longer breathe through my nose. I had been referred to the specialist by my primary doctor but afterward, the insurance company refused to pay. What?! It turned out I needed two referrals for this particular surgery. That small print was hidden in the coverage brochure the size of the bible. The insurance company also insisted they knew that it was for cosmetic reasons. (This is Hollywood after all.) Thank goodness I had refused the doctor’s generous but insulting offer of a free nose job.