Chicago Woman Tested For Zika; Left With Huge Doctor Bill

CHICAGO (CBS) — At the beginning of the Zika virus scare, one Chicago woman faced her own terrifying possibility. Could she and her unborn child have contracted the virus overseas?

Doctors ordered precautionary tests, but she never expected what happened next.

CBS2’s Dana Kozlov talked with 36-year-old single parent Debra Glitter in this Original Report. Glitter isn’t only adjusting to motherhood. She’s still counting her blessings that her daughter, Ezra is healthy.

Glitter was running a literacy program in El Salvador when she found out she was pregnant–and found herself working around two people who had contracted the Zika virus.

Glitter packed up and returned to Chicago for her prenatal care.

“When I knew I was pregnant, I called my insurance company to review, and they said I had 100 percent maternal health care, that it was all covered,” Glitter said.

Because of Zika concerns, Glitter says her doctors at Northwestern University’s Prentice Women’s Hospital ordered bi-weekly ultrasounds, special blood work and brain scans for her baby.

“I was doing everything I was told,” she said.

But then, the bills started arriving. So she called Aetna, her insurance agency, again.

“And suddenly, I was given a different answer. That I hadn’t read the small print. And the small print said basically what? That my maternal health coverage, my 100 percent maternal health coverage, didn’t include ultrasound and bloodwork,” Glitter remembered.

Glitter estimates she now owes more than $6,000.

And with Zika concerns on the rise, UIC Obstetrician and Gynaecologist Jessica Shepherd is concerned.

“I feel there already is a disconnect. Especially when we have the CDC recommending we test these women for the virus. And then we have insurance companies possibly not covering the testing. That means we’re not taking care of our women,” Shepherd said.

Messages left with Aetna’s corporate offices to ask why Glitter’s maternity coverage didn’t include ultrasounds and the like were not returned.

Shepherd says clinicians can also appeal insurance coverage on a patient’s behalf. But Zika testing, she believes, is critical.

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