Friday, August 22, 2008

Saving $$$ On Travel for Follow-Ups

Are you home? Really? Hooray!!!

And now for the follow-up appointments...

Your situations will vary, of course, but if you're parenting a micropreemie, it's likely that you will have a lot of follow-up appointments, especially in the first couple of months after discharge. Here are three things I would encourage you to look into to possibly save a little dough on the cost of making those trips:

  1. If you qualify for Medicaid (I recommended you check into that here), check into their transportation options. Our state program allows you to call and arrange for a ride to some appointments. Worth looking in to!
  2. If you've been approved for secondary insurance, call and ask about any reimbursement programs. Our state-funded insurance for children with special health care needs provides travel reimbursement for any medical appointments that require a 50+ mile round-trip drive. For us, that includes any appointment where we have to return to the hospital.
  3. Consolidate your appointments. In those early days, it was not uncommon for me to bounce from pulmonology to developmental pediatrics to radiology for a swallow study and on to opthamology. It was a LONG day, but it saved a lot in travel costs. Most receptionists are happy to work with what you've already scheduled; you just have to speak up.
What other suggestions do you have for saving money on this kind of travel?

For more frugal ideas, check out Frugal Friday hosted at Biblical Womanhood.


Ryann said...

Even though we live only a few miles from Riley, the costs for follow up appts can add up. We don't spend much on gas for travel, but the parking garage really stings, and they don't take credit/debit cards... cash only. One thing I've noted... when you are scheduling or leaving an appt, ask if they will give you a parking pass. Some offices will if you have the first appt of the day (many people don't like this time of day because they have to travel from far away!) For us living only a few miles, an 8am appt is no big deal. If we can save $3 or $4 a few times a month, it's still a good savings.

JessieLeigh said...

What a great tip! Parking fees ARE a headache...

We live far away, but I still love those first appointments-- less chance of a delay means less time in the garage means lower cost for parking!

Audra Krell said...

My son was born at 27.5 weeks, 15 years ago. I have never heard the term "micropreemie." What is the difference between that and preemie?

JessieLeigh said...

Welcome, Audra!

Technically, preemies are broken down into four categories:

Micropreemies (born before 26 weeks)
Very-Very Premature Babies (born between 26-29 weeks)
Very Premature Babies (born between 30-34 weeks) and
Moderately Premature Babies (born between 35-37 weeks)

There is a lot of overlap between categories but, clearly, there is a vast difference between, say, having a baby at 24 weeks vs. 34 weeks.

A "less scientific" but also frequently used definition of micropreemie is any preemie weighing less than 2 lb at birth.

Hope that helps!