Saturday, April 03, 2010

Part 2: Me in The Medical City (and why I'm changing hospitals)

My last post was about what made my confinement at The Medical City so stressful--it was the utterly insensitive pulmonologist. By the way, despite all that he did, I want to assure everyone that I was extremely polite with him after. Now I'll tell you about the other source of stress.

The other source of stress was HPPI. I've had comprehensive medical insurance before courtesy of my Mama's employ at Merlaco, but when I got married and especially when she died, obviously I can't be her beneficiary anymore. HPPI is the healthcare partner of the company I work for, and really, you do get what you pay for.

First, let me tell you about me and money. I've not made it a secret that I grew up in a home that was far from rich. I worked hard to get where I am and now that I have some money, I don't feel guilty spending it. I don't like it when people fight over money, haggle to the point of embarrassment, or even whip out their phones when the restaurant bill arrives and everyone's busy calculating what their share is--down to the last centavo. That's just undignified for me. It's just money, folks. It's nice to have but there's no need to fuss over it like it's the most important thing in the world. Sure, I like it that I have more of it now than when I was growing up but if there's anything being poor taught me, it's that money can be earned so don't be scared to use it.

So when I give my hard-earned money to an insurance company, I expect it to work just as hard for me. Last weekend at The Medical City, HPPI was adamant to not work for me. I kid you not when I say that the HPPI representative regularly came in to say, "We're not paying for this, we'll only pay up to this amount, this isn't included in your coverage, etc." Now, TMC is not a cheap hospital. It's quite expensive there actually especially if you consider how several blue bills will only get you a teeny-tiny room with a creaky bed like this:

For the money we paid, we should at least have gotten WiFi in the room! But I guess in a land where prepaid cell phones is king, to ask for free Internet access in each private deluxe room is completely alien. Or is it?

Anyway, I don't really mind the limits of my health plan; what really bugged me was the regularity of the HPPI person's visits! After the nth "We can't do this," Vince and I just wanted to tell her, "If you just leave us alone, we'll gladly pay the whole damn thing!" Seriously, how could I ever get some rest when every 30 minutes or so, some person knocks on the door to tell you bad news? It's just money, for heaven's sake!   

So I wrote in my mommy blog that I'm already planning to give birth at St. Luke's Global City. I know that it's a lot more expensive there. When I went there a few weeks ago for my prenatal lab tests, for example, the urinalysis cost me P350 while the one in TMC costs P240. Clearly way more expensive. But when the bill was handed to me, it was in a sleek leather folder and the cashier was polite and unblinking. The total cost of all my lab tests took me aback but since the service was impeccable, I gave my credit card--just as unblinkingly as the cashier--and signed away. It was discreet, courteous, professional and hassle-free. On top of the world-class medical care! That's what my money is paying for.

We have four more months before the Jelly Bean arrives and we're saving up, saving up! I just really want to give birth in a nice place, in a big room, surrounded by professional people. It's going to cost us but my son is worth it. 


  1. Denis del CallarApril 3, 2010 at 1:21 AM

    Heh. Good think you left Medical City. They lost their case in the Supreme Court last year over a woman they killed by leaving gauze inside her after she gave birth. They did the same to me. Also, while I was there, one of the nurses (or, come to think of it, it could have been one of the doctors) took my celphone.

  2. AGREE, Neigbor! How are you??? I didn't know up until now that you were in the hospital! I'll be back in a couple of days so hope to see you and your little bundle-bump a-okay! Lovelots!

  3. Oh wow. I didn't realize there was so much stress with your confinement at the TMC. First the pulmo should have been sacked in the face. Second is the rep from HPPI. I never even realized they'd actually come into your room to tell you about the coverage etc. That was insane! It's like they're telling you to get better na cos they would like to pay less.

    I'm praying for you F and Jelly Bean. :)

  4. Feel bad that you had to go through those useless stresses. I had both my kids at the old Medical City when it was still behind Megamall. We also had our mom there years ago when she suffered a stroke. In those times, I had a wonderful experience with care and "customer service". Perhaps the new building has created different expectations from insurance folks, who think people are enjoying themselves in a hotel-like facility.

    Don't think about them anymore. Take good care of yourself and Jelly Bean. God bless! :)

  5. Goodspeed with the pregnancy. This is awful! I'm going to start seriously looking into a solid health plan!

    I love St.Lukes, even the old one. It's always been our hospital of choice and there's never cause to complain. I remember when my lolo was hospitalized several years ago he got a room with a desktop computer and internet connection (this was circa 1990s!) us grandkids thought it was the coolest thing!

  6. At that rate you might be better off with philhealth! Anyway it's too bad you had a bad experience at tmc. Hospitals are supposed to be a place where you can recuperate and that's difficult to do if you're stressed. I've been to slmc-gc for a visit and yes, they really are very professional. They really put a premium on customer (patient) satisfaction.

  7. Yikes! Sorry to hear about your bad and disappointing experience at TMC. It has always been my fave hospital and my family's too. That HPPI rep was annoying, and even the doctor.

  8. I share the same view about money. I hate it when people fight about it - it's dispensable and we can't take it with us when we die! /end rant :)

    Hope you're feeling better!

  9. Hope you're feeling better! I feel the same about money and about health care!

  10. Memories of my pregnancy came rushing in after reading your blog. I had a very difficult pregnancy too since I had hypertension and was very sickly. Not to mention traumatized by a past pregnancy. Good thing my doctors at Philippine Children's Medical Center (PCMC) were very good. I have so much to say but there is not much space. Just bear in mind that with prayers, nothing is impossible. We have been blessed with a beautiful, healthy 4-year old girl who is worth all the pain and anxiety I experienced. Don't worry, God is on your side.

  11. I hope you filed a complaint against the pulmonologist. He has caused you stress and psychological disturbance. As for the health insurance, that's one reason I dislike health care plans. You can't choose your doctor, you're made to accept sub-par treatment or service, and all because they think their customers are out to milk money out of them.

  12. Oh my...
    what trouble..

    the girls had said it all. at least now you are already out of the hospital. with God's grace, im sure you'll be able to deliver a very healthy, happy & beautiful baby. what you shared with us helps us by giving us awareness.

    i am really late in saying this, but im really glad you & your baby is safe,hun.

  13. Thanks everybody! The trouble with HPPI is not yet over sadly. But I do appreciate all your encouragement! =D

  14. I echo everyone's sentiments and I wish you didn't have to go through so much stress while you were supposedly getting better in that hospital.

    I just sent up a quick prayer for you and your little Jelly Bean.

    What HMO companies choose for their employees is a big thing. A poor choice once prevented me from moving to another company, despite them offering a higher salary than what I was getting at the time.

    I am so greatful that our HMO coverage covers a whole lot, and that I can use it at St.Luke's without worrying about a thing!


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