Blood isn’t the only thing that makes you family


At times this word seems very foreign to me. Which is odd since I am adopted.

I think the best part of my family which is full of many different backgrounds, bloodlines, and personalities is that we love each other unconditionally. Which was taught by our parents. Some people ask how it feels to be adopted or do I long for my biological parents? I laugh because I truly don’t feel anything towards the word adopted, my parents are my parents and my siblings are my siblings. I do have the privilege of knowing and having a relationship with my biological mom and I thank God every day that she was selfless enough to give me up for a better life.

I’m apart of a large family, 7 girls, and 2 boys. My parents had 4 of their own and were foster care parents for a long time, then decided to adopt 5 kids. I happen to be one of them. The first 2 are half sisters and the next 2 are half brother and sister, which leaves me the odd ball (which is what I was lovingly called by my dad growing up). All of us were aware of being adopted our whole lives, but never felt like we weren’t family.

I often think about the life I would have had or even if I would have made it this far in life. When I was born I was addicted to heroin and had to be put on methadone to wean me off the drug. The doctor and nurses didn’t think I had much hope. My parents drove an hour every day while I was in the hospital just to make sure I was fed until it was time to take me home. I would have seizures as a baby and my parents had long nights with me turning blue and constantly crying {another nickname I had was smurf.} My parents told me I would scare the life out of them, but they never gave up on me and cared for me like their own. Most importantly they gave nonstop love for me and all my other siblings.

Adoption is a beautiful thing and it takes very special people to love someone like their own. Someone once said to me “blood is family” which shocked me because everyone that is family to me has no blood relation to me. I know it’s not for everyone but those kind of people make a huge difference in one’s lives. I can say from experience. I’m beyond blessed to belong in such an amazing family.


A cure for the common code

From the billing department…


There is often confusion when dealing with insurance companies and doctor’s offices and what we as a patient will have to pay. I have taken some of the most common questions among patients and listed them below to help give you a better understanding of the terminology used in the medical/insurance field.


What is an Explanation of Benefits(EOB)?

  • An EOB is something that is used by the insurance company to inform a patient and provider’s office of the patient’s benefits for a particular office visit. An EOB lists the total amount that was billed to the insurance, the total amount the insurance will “allow” (per contract with the providers office), the patient’s responsibility (copayment, deductible, coinsurance) and the payment amount to the provider if there is one.


What is an allowed amount?

  • An allowed amount is a contracted rate that the insurance and providers office have agreed upon. This is usually a percentage of what Medicare will reimburse for the same code. For example: Suppose a provider is contracted with Cigna at 70% for code 99213 (the code used for an established patient with a moderately complex office visit). That same code with Medicare is reimbursed at $100. Cigna will allow a maximum of $70 for that code.


What is a copayment?

  • A copayment is a set amount that a patient would be responsible for during a visit. This amount can vary based on the type of provider the patient is seeing. For example, a primary care doctor is generally less than a specialist or the emergency room. This is based on an individual’s plan through their insurance and varies by carrier and policy.


What is a deductible?

  • A deductible is a set amount that a patient is responsible for paying toward and once met, the insurance carrier will contribute toward the visit for the remainder of the plan year. For example, if a patient has a deductible of $1,000, that means that the patient will have to pay total charges for all visits until that amount is met. Once met and depending on the policy, the carrier may contribute a percentage (called co-insurance) or total of the charges for visits. This varies by carrier, plan and individual, so if you want to make sure you are financially prepared for your visit, contact your insurance company and ask for your benefits.


What is the difference between Medicare, Medicaid and Commercial insurances?

  • Medicare and Medicaid are both insurances issued through the government. Medicare generally is issued to those with disabilities and retirees. Medicaid is generally provided to those that are not able to afford health care through a commercial insurance and don’t qualify for Medicare. Commercial insurances are those that are offered through a person’s job or on their own and are not affiliated with the government.

The ins and outs of insurance can be daunting, and the language can get a bit confusing.  But don’t underestimate the value of being an informed consumer, especially where  your health is concerned.