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When it comes to figuring out how health care works and doesn’t work, nothing does the trick better than living through an emergency, accident or serious health issue.
When my son was 24 years old, he was in a car accident. A tractor-trailer pulled out in front of him on a major highway. Needless to say, his injuries were serious. He spent 10 days in intensive care with internal injuries and traumatic brain injury. It was a few more months of brain and physical therapy to get him back to his old self.
Overall, his care was excellent. The emergency trauma staff and intensive care doctors were amazing. Not only did they keep him alive and take care of his injuries, but they kept us posted on his progress and explained everything he was going through. The medical staff at the rehab hospital told us what to expect and eased our minds when his progress concerned us.
I learned a lot through my son’s accident and recovery. Here are some tips from my first-hand experience:
Number 5 isn’t really about working with doctors. I’m going to cheat here, but it’s an important point to make.
5. Keep your insurance company in the loop.The day after the accident, I called the main Customer Service number listed on my Blue Cross Blue Shield member ID card. Right away it put my mind at ease knowing my insurance company was managing the bills, so we could focus on my son’s care. When I had a question about a claim, they had answers. When we had concerns about the PCP, they stepped in. They also assigned us a case manager, who stayed in regular contact with us to help with referrals, paperwork and making important choices. She even had a Blue Cross Blue Shield doctor look at his CAT scan to give us a second opinion when we had concerns about the findings.
Originally published November 11, 2014; Revised 2019
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