Saturday, April 3, 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! I was in a private deluxe room! Surely, free Internet access is to be expected!

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 here 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. Hi! Hee I'm glad I found you. I'm not a mommy yet but there's never a year when I'm never bedridden in a hospital (keeping my fingers crossed that my dehydration last March will be the only hospital visit this year) so I'd like to add my piece on this.

    I come from a family of medical professionals but it pisses me off to no end that the healthcare system and so many medical "professionals" here are very good at making a quick buck, and yet are so grossly mediocre at their duty to do no harm. Just this Tuesday I went to Clinica Manila in Megamall to get myself treated for a skin infection, and both the dermatologist and her aide lost no time in forcing me to buy overpriced (PhP300.00) oatmeal soap! Ni hindi man lang tinanong sa akin kung nasaan ako o ano ang kinain ko when the infection set. While the oatmeal soap was necessary to reduce the inflammation on my skin (it's working!), grabe nakakainis kasi there was a shop less than 500 meters away from Clinica Manila which sold oatmeal soap at THREE TIMES LESS her price (at PhP85.00, may honey pa siya). This is why even if it will prove detrimental to my cousins and relatives, I am pushing for the Healthcare Bill which seeks to check and balance the irresponsible practices of medical practitioners and healthcare companies.

    Anyway, maybe you can ask your company to add more mommy-friendly insurance benefits to the current package made available to you, or to at least switch insurance care companies entirely? I was thinking that with many of your company's staff up and down the ranks being mommies themselves, your company would be more open to adding such benefits that would help you all in the long run.

  2. Hi Frances! Your last paragraph is a winner :) I so can relate. I gave birth to my son at the Asian Hospital and we paid a huge sum, too. Someone made a rude remark that all of my husband's bonuses went to it when in fact, it was both of us who saved for my childbirth! She hasn't even given us a single centavo!

    Sorry if I opened up here. I just want to say that it was all worth saving up and paying for an expensive hospital that can very well take care of a mom and her newborn baby. :)


This is all pretty new to me so please feel free to share your mommy wisdom!