Wednesday, February 15, 2012

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Remember the saying that life happens when you least expect it? Well, I now understand what it means. It all happened when we discovered a little hairy bat resting leisurely on top of our build in closet door in the bedroom one night. After googling on what to do, we decided that instead of picking it up and taking it outside with a oven mitt, we should call the police department and have animal control to take it away. The operator at the police department didn't quite understand what we meant by a bat, until my husband said, "yes, a bat... the animal." After waiting til well past 12 am, a animal control officer showed up, captured the bat, took notes, and left. We thought it was the end of story, until a couple of days later we got a call from the county public health department saying that the bat was tested positive with rabies. It left us scrambling to find and see if we had any bite marks on our bodies or if our dogs had their vaccinations up to date. Luckily, after calculating the time of Kelly and Alfie's shots, I realized that they were still covered by rabie vaccine.

We were however, recommended to take the post exposure treatment, which shockingly upon discovery, after insurance coverage, still runs up a bill in deductible around the five figures ball park. I almost passed out hearing the astronomical cost of treatment that we needed. The dilemma was, should we spend $10,000 on post exposure treatment? Or should we risk it and see if we die of rabies in a year or two? With the way our insurance is set up, even though we are partially covered with insurance, the treatment was still expensive enough that we'd have to make tough decisions on whether or not to spend that much money. This is when I wished that we bought the full coverage health insurance that would have a much higher monthly payment.

In the meanwhile, it was impossible to get a hold of anyone in the insurance company that actually spoke English. After being transfered a dozen times between departments we still couldn't find answers to the questions that we needed to ask, nor could we talk to anyone that understood our questions or spoke English. The internet was filled with misinformation, so we had to read the insurance policy booklet and figure out what the solution would be on our own. After several days of frustration, we finally decided that it was too much constantly worrying about whether we were going to die or not, that we would be better off taking the treatment and be done with it.

The procedure goes like this. We need to first find a hospital that had enough amount of treatment available, then we need to set up a appointment, to go the emergency room, and receive several shots over the period of two weeks. It was suppose to take place today, and after we got everything set up, we received a call from the county again to ask that we hold off the treatment so that they could redo the rabies test again because there were "some doubts" about the result. After hours of waiting, finally we got a call back saying that the first test was a error and done by a inexperienced technician, the proper result showed that the bat was not infected by rabies.

I had the sensation of having the flesh scrapped off of my bones when there was nothing left and then suddenly woke up and realized that it was just a bad dream. Having gone through this ordeal I'm not sure if we are considered lucky or unlucky. It made me think of people that actually do have serious illnesses and had to go through the frustration of constantly dealing with insurance companies and having to make important decisions on matters of life or death purely based on financial considerations, whereas other people have the best coverage under the sun and could take whatever treatment is necessary, not mentioning that a simple error by a lab technician could cost us tens of thousands of dollars.

So, having said all that, what are some of your experiences with insurance companies, or for that matter, wild animals?

2 comments:

  1. That is so crazy! It's too bad you guys had to go through all of that!

    I broke a toe/foot bone once in college and had to pay $400 for a checkup and x-ray (then ended up taping one toe to the next in the end...) and I remember not being too fond of my insurance then. Ever since we've tried to get the best insurance we can afford.

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    Replies
    1. Crazy indeed, I still find it hard to swallow the high costs of medical expense for illnesses big or small...

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