GLENDALE (3TV/CBS 5) - A Glendale family is getting ready for their daughter’s spine surgery in just a few weeks and they just found out Tuesday that insurance might not cover any of it.
Phoenix Children’s Hospital and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona are still working out their network agreement. If they don’t get on the same page by Dec. 1, the hospital would become an out-of-network provider for anyone with that insurance.
Fourteen-year-old Kasey Gallagher has been playing volleyball since she was 6. Her position on the court is pretty rough and tumble, and she got whiplash at a tournament a few weeks ago.
“I do a lot of diving, I hit walls, I hit the ground all the time and I thought that I wouldn’t be able to do any of that anymore,” she said.
“We took her to a chiropractor and they took x-rays and that’s when we saw the curvature of the spine,” her mother Dawn said. “It was pretty severe. I got mildly ill.”
They found out she has scoliosis and needs surgery to put her spine back in line. The operation’s scheduled for Dec. 11. But Tuesday Dawn got a letter from PCH, telling her they’re still in talks to update their agreement with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona.
“They said, ‘Yes, if we don’t have an agreement by December 1st then it will be an out-of-pocket expense for the entire surgery,” Dawn said.
Dawn had already rearranged her finances to come up with the $6,000 or so the surgery would cost if it were covered by insurance. But if PCH becomes out-of-network, the family might have to pay a couple hundred thousand dollars.
The hospital and the insurance company released a joint statement saying “patient care is [their] number one priority,” and that they are “optimistic [they’ll] reach an agreement before December first.”
“I’m not blaming the insurance company. I’m not blaming the hospital,” Dawn said. “Just, why put it on us parents who are going through a stressful time, and make us try to figure it out?”
Though they could go somewhere else, the Gallaghers say PCH is the best around and they plan on keeping Kasey’s surgery at the hospital they already know and love.
“I’ll be taller, and maybe I can be like a better hitter,” Kasey joked.
If she needs to, Dawn is planning on pulling money from the equity on their house, and Kasey’s dad -- who was set to retire in March -- may end up working for a few more years.