Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Insurance & Peace of mind...NOT!

My father use to tell me that "insurance gives a person peace of mind". Well, that was 20 years ago, and I don't believe the insurance companies are using that motto in their training sessions with their employees any more. I believe the new motto for insurance companies is "Insurance is a circus act". In my opinion insurance companies train their personnel to see how many hoops they can make a customer jump through to get the treatment he or she needs before they actually authorize treatment. I can imagine each customer service representative (CSR to save time) given a list of hoops, and after all hoops are achieved, the CSR is told to tell the customer that they didn't receive the faxed copies of hoop "X", please try again. I've also noticed that these CSR's seem fairly cheerful on the phone, but I guess I'd be happy too if I got paid to get nothing accomplished all day!

You may be wondering why I chose this topic to write about, well....yesterday was the day I gave myself to finally try to get the wheelchair my physician recommended for me 6 months ago. If you have read my past blogs you know that I have been procrastinating this task for emotional reasons, but I know having a wheelchair will improve my quality of life so I decided to push forward with it this week.

Yesterday morning I began the task. I grabbed my prescription for the wheelchair and made a call to the insurance company. I should have known there would be trouble when I heard the recording on the insurance companies intro message; "Please listen carefully, our options have recently changed, please choose from the following new options". Choosing an option is always a gamble because if you have chosen the wrong option, you have to hang up and start the process all over again. So I said a quick prayer and chose option 18; authorizations. Bingo, I chose the right option. I am then told to enter my id# and group # (which is in such fine print that I need to get a magnifying glass out to see the numbers), and then told that my communication may be recorded for quality assurance purposes, hmmmm.... After I punch in my id and group #, I say another prayer that I didn't make any mistakes, and then push the # sign. After 5 minutes of listening to obnoxious music and advertisements telling me how caring my insurance company is, a CSR comes on the line. She asks me again for my id # and group # and I begin to realize that I'm Alice and I've fallen down the rabbit hole, and Johnny Depp isn't there to meet me. I have fallen into a reality that only makes sense to the insurance company and my wonderful CSR. I'm asked to state my problem, I tell the CSR that my doctor has prescribed a wheelchair for me, and I need to know the procedures to get one. She then tells me I need to use an authorized medical supplier, and asks me for my state and area code. I wonder what information pops up when I give them my id# and group#. After she gives me a long list of cities that are 60 or more miles away, she finally comes across one that is in a neighboring city, and I take down the address and phone number. My arms and hands are now aching because holding the phone up to my ear is so painful, I decide to take a 5 minute break before I proceed any further.

Woohoo, I'm on my way, I make the phone call and get a recording, "We're sorry, the number you have just dialed is no longer in service, please blah, blah, blah.... Arggg, I call back the insurance company, and after spending 15 minutes pushing a million bazillion numbers, I'm back on the line with a CSR, a different one of course, so I tell her my story, and she gives me a web site to check. We say our goodbye's and I go on line. I'm told I need to register to get the information I need, so I follow the complicated list of info needed to become a registered member, and I am denied! I try 4 more times, and I'm told to call customer service. So I call the number, and again the animated phone service has me jumping the hoops needed to direct my call, and finally I'm given a CSR. I tell her my problem, she asks me for my id# and group # which I now have memorized. She types in the info, which she proceeds to tell me that her computer is running slow, and it may take a few minutes, chirp... chirp... chirp. Finally she is back on the line with a hmmm..., this is strange, you are not coming up, can you please hold...... CSR comes back and is wondering if I work for _____, I say yes, and she says oh, your group doesn't have access to this site, you need to go to another site to get your information. She gives me the site info, and wishes me good luck, which I know I'll be needing at this point in the game.

I go to the new site, and bingo, I'm able to log on and access the information I need. I find the only medical supplier in my area, and give them a call. I am told it is a rental company, and to bring in my prescription. I hang up the phone and realize that I need to start all over, because I do not want to rent a chair for what appears to be the rest of my life.

So I call the insurance company again, and after the may hoops I automatically jump through, I'm back on the line with a CSR (a different one than the first two). I tell her my problem, and she doesn't know what to do, and puts me on hold to ask a supervisor. I couldn't be the first person that insurance company has come across that needs a wheelchair permanently! The CSR gets back on the line and asks me what my doctor told me to do, now this was 6 months ago, and all I remember was him telling me he got one for his office at Sam's club for around $100.00, and that he would see me in 6 months. The CSR laughed, and told me that I needed to contact my doctor, because he is the one who needs to take care of it. Thank you for calling and have a nice day. I'm thinking to myself, are you sure, this is the doctor who recommended I go to Sam's club!

I look at my clock and was shocked that it said 11:55, I began this quest at 9:00. My doctor would be going to lunch in 5 minutes, and wouldn't be returning until 2:00. I would love to have a two hour lunch break! I was totally drained, and decided to wait for my next doctors visit (which is in a week), to complete this task. I am not up to jumping through a new rabbit hole in which my reality depends on a doctor who believes I can get a quality wheelchair for $100.00. I'd like to see him sit in it for 4 hours, or try pushing the wobbly wheels up a curve!

After spending hours on the phone and accomplishing nothing, I was drained and frustrate. I've learned through my experiences that things are easier when you're not alone. I called a friend who is familiar with the frustrations of the insurance companies circus hoops, and after ranting and raving to her I felt so much better. Even the yucky things in life are better when shared with a friend, thanks Von!

Back to my reality, Dysautonomia, my new normal.

Always inspired,

1 comment:

  1. Wow, you are so right on about the insurance companies. I am proud of you. Keep sharing...you have quite a sence of humor about things too.

    I wrote something and I wanted to invite you, and a few others, however I could not figure out how to invite you. Hope you have a good day. May you not get stuck in the washing machine spinning.

    I think mine is cpgirlakacutiepiesyndrome.