Aug 11 2008 by Derek Torres Print This Article

Got a pretty unpleasant surprise in the mail the other day; this is one that I'm sure that many people in the US receive on a daily basis. Let me explain.

We recently took two family members to the doctor's office in a major urban area of the United States for some routine vaccinations. We plopped down our insurance card, confident in its abilities as one of the largest providers in the country.

Unfortunately, we greatly overestimated its capabilities, because I about had a heart attack when I received two bills totaling $1000 for services.

It wasn't so much the $130 fee per each of my family members' visit (yes, this was basically the "walk through the door" fee), nor was it the fact that each vaccination had a $17 administration fee (save for the combined vaccination that had a $32 fee).

No, what really got me was the reason in a separate letter from our former insurance provider telling us that vaccinations, checkups, preventive medicine and wellness are not covered under our plan only sickness or emergencies are.

So, which is worse? That the employer, a major non-profit organization dedicated to helping the poor throughout the world, that won't even vaccinate the children of its own employees, or the fact that we have an insurance provider (through a job) that won't pay for a hepatitis vaccination, but would rather wait until he has the illness and pay hundreds times more money on the treatment. You decide.