I live in the Santa Ynez Valley and love our little gem of a hospital. That’s why I was dismayed to discover that the emergency room personnel located within Santa Ynez Valley Cottage Hospital are not Blue Cross providers. I found out the hard way, after visiting the E.R. last November with a serious health scare. Even though the admitting clerk knew Blue Cross was my insurance carrier, I was never advised I was about to enter an “out-of-network” zone. Because I knew the hospital was a Blue Cross provider, I assumed (silly me) that the E.R. was as well. Fast forward two months and I’m hit with a huge bill for services rendered and not covered by my insurance. To me this is false and misleading, and does a gross disservice to the residents of this community who have consistently supported SYV Cottage Hospital. In an emergency we have no other choice, except to drive an hour to Santa Barbara, where, by the way, that E.R. is a Blue Cross provider. At the very least the admitting clerk should have advised me that my insurance would not be accepted. Come on Cottage Hospital, you need to fix this. In a rural community like the Santa Ynez Valley we shouldn’t have to drive an hour to have our insurance accepted, or even have to make the decision to forego emergency medical care because we can’t afford the cost. It’s time you require all of your emergency room personnel to sign on to the major insurance providers. I’m betting most SYV residents don’t know about this inequity. So next time you have an emergency, be forewarned. The service is great, but you’re going to pay through the nose.
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