Kaiser Permanente Compliment - I have to say, I really like Kaiser!
SAN JOSE, CALIFORNIA -- I grew up in Sacramento, California, and we had Kaiser insurance my whole life. Back in those days, I remember waiting for literally hours to see my doctor... It was pretty bad, but it was also because their system was so completely overloaded... They had too many people for the hospital and clinics they had.
Now I'm all grown up, and although I work in San Jose, I live 60 miles away. My choices for insurance were Kaiser or a PPO that I would have to come into San Jose to see a doctor. I chose Kaiser because they have Hospitals and clinics pretty close to my home.
In the 19 years that I have had Kaiser on my own, I have no real complaints. I have never had to wait long enough to finish a magazine article when I go see my doctor or a specialist. The longest I have ever waited was for a blood draw, but the lab waiting room was packed! When I saw how many people were in front of me, I thought I'd be there all day, but it turned out to be about 45 minutes.
My wife is an OB/GYN Nurse Practitioner, and she knows a lot about Kaiser. (She has never worked for them, but she does know quite a few nurses and doctors who do) She says that she likes Kaiser because it's so convenient and easy to get what you want from them. It does take a little effort on your part to work their system, but the Advice Nurse that you call into for questions or treatment has the ability to get you in to almost any specialist very quickly. ( A tip when talking to the Advice Nurse, you don't want to be macho and downplay your problem. Their questions are directed at you to screen whether you need immediate treatment or just a routine doctor visit with your PCP (Primary Care Physician) If you want to be seen today, there are frequently "code words" that if they hear them, they will schedule you for an almost immediate appointment... (It helps for me when my wife tells me to call the advice nurse, and be sure and say "Blah, blah, blah" But even if you don't know these code words, you can usually guess what kind of thing would trigger them to get you in right away... Say those things!)
I have had a few health issues over the years, and I can say that I am extremely happy to have had Kaiser. I got into a motorcycle accident five years ago, and I was in hospitals for about two months. The first 5 days I was in San Jose Trauma, and the bill from them was over $100,000. And they didn't do all that much besides dope me up and stabilize me... I had to have two hand surgeries, and over a month of rehab in the Vallejo rehab hospital. If I had the PPO insurance, that accident would've left me broke.
They just built a brand new hospital right at our little town's border, and it's really great. I have been to their emergency room twice, and the service has been excellent and very quick. If I was ever considering another job, one of my questions would be if Kaiser insurance was available. If not, I probably wouldn't go. :)