America’s Health Care System; A Less Serious Note

On August 17th I accidentally slammed my thumb in a Range Rover car door in the parking garage of the airport in Cape Town, South Africa. After this happened, I flew 12 hours to Amsterdam, had a 7 hour layover, and then flew 8 more hours to New York.

On August 19th I went to the Jersey Shore Hospital emergency room where I was given x-rays of my thumb. The x-rays showed that my thumb is indeed broken and I was told that if the pain increases and does not seem like it is healing, to contact a hand specialist.

After waiting 4 days to see if there were any improvements, I decided to start making phone calls. I searched for orthopedics in my area and kept being told that they don’t accept my insurance, United Healthcare (Community Plan).

I then decided to call the insurance company directly so they can refer me to doctors that accept this lovely insurance. A woman gave me 4 different phone numbers, I called all 4 to find out that all of them are pediatric only. I called back and told them they gave me all pediatric doctors and that I am calling for myself. They search their database and tell me there are 2 more non-pediatric locations, although quite far. At this point, I had no choice so I accepted. I called one location and they told me they have another office, which happens to be closer to where I live, so I called them.

First, I asked them (just to confirm) whether they accept this insurance plan and they tell me yes. Finally, a step in the right direction. They proceed to ask me what’s wrong and I tell them I broke my thumb and this has been confirmed by the hospital through x-rays. They asked me how I broke it, I told them. They replied, unfortunately because of the nature of how you broke your thumb, your insurance will not cover this and therefore, we cannot give you an appointment. You must go through your auto-insurance since you slammed your thumb in a car door.

First of all, who are they to tell me that my insurance is definitely not going to cover this? Secondly, I do not drive, I do not own a car, I do not have a license. Third, this happened in South Africa!

Quite frustrated, I called the insurance company back and a representative said that she has been working for this company for years and has absolutely never heard of this before (coverage depending on how I was injured).

I called another doctor, and they told me that my insurance will only cover me from my shoulder to my wrist. What?! Is this a joke?! Again, insurance representative has never heard of this nonsense either.

I am beyond frustrated with this health care system. Anyway, I have an appointment soon to receive a referral to see a specialist, although I have no specialist to see! I guess the joke is on me?

This is America. I am grateful to have the capacity and experience to see through thiscountry’s hypocrisy. We are not at the top, we are lagging in many regards (especially in Health Care), and the power that we do possess was acquired, and maintained and perpetuated through the blood, sweat, and tears of exploited peoples.



~Lauren K.


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