In Oakland, you have a few choices (read: couple) for where you'll deliver your baby. If you have Kaiser, then you deliver at Kaiser Oakland (in its brand spanking new maternity ward with sparkling NICU if you need it) or Kaiser Walnut Creek. If you have Blue Cross or something like that, then you go to Alta Bates, where I was born and where Bama was introduced to all of us 20 months ago.
Manhattan: NYU Medical Center, St. Luke's – Roosevelt, New York Presbyterian Hospital – Columbia and about seven or eight others. (I don't have opinions one way or another about the others, but I haven't been given doctor recommendations for them and not all of them (any of them?) are birthing hospitals.)
In California, you call a doctor and say, "I have such and such insurance," and the doctor says, "I take that," or "I don't take that." No mystery. You're in network or out of network (if you have insurance, that is).
In New York, you call, the doctor says, "I don't take insurance. Your first appointment will cost $350 (or $450 or $550 depending on the doctor)." Add to that the so-called global fee that is what the doctor will charge for delivery. The global fee does not include hospital fees, by the way. Or ultrasounds. Or blood draws. Or … what else can I think of?
Before I left California, two friends forwarded recommendations for doctors to me. I met with one already. I liked her, liked the vibe of the practice just fine. They deliver at NYU, she said a VBAC would probably be fine as long as I remained a healthy, good candidate whereas the Columbia group said I was high-risk and, without saying, would likely push a Caesarean. The first appointment cost $425 (down from $550, a bargain!). The second appointment will cost $1,500. Fifteen hundred dollars. $1,500. And then there is the "global delivery cost."
So we're still looking. I found another doctor I like the sound of who also delivers at NYU. He flat out does not take insurance which means we'll pay out of pocket for the first appointment again, then have a global fee. The doctor who was recommended by someone from a friend's parent listserv turned up with horrible reviews. But she takes our insurance.
It's like a needle in a haystack with a leprechaun for luck.
We also were given a recommendation for a pediatrician. I called the office today. Very nice person on the phone said he doesn't do consultations and the calendar for fall isn't available yet. Therefore, I have to call back in six weeks to make her two-year appointment, and if she gets sick, then we can meet him and have a consultation to see if we like him.
Unfuckingbelievable. The New York attitude is that doctors are in high demand, etc. Yeah.