Mood: Frustrated (seriously. frustrated)
What I'm Watching: The Olympics (cross country skiing anyone?)
I'm grateful that I'm lucky enough to have insurance. Really. I am. For many years I wasn't so lucky. I worked hard but worked for places that didn't offer insurance and I couldn't afford to get any on my own. A major surgery and a bill to the tune of $30,000 makes one extremely grateful for a job where insurance is provided.*
BUT. (and you knew there had to be a but, right?) Is it really necessary for insurance companies to raise incompetence to an art form? For example, last year I had some symptoms that required some further investigation in the form of a medical procedure. After the procedure was completed, I received a letter from the insurance company asking for more information b/c they were concerned that the procedure was for a pre-existing condition. Huh? So, I called the insurance co. and asked some questions. The conversation went like this (cliff notes):
Me: I have a note here asking about pre-existing conditions associated w/ this procedure but it only gives me a code for the condition. What does the code mean?
Ins. Rep: Well, I can't tell you that because it would be a violation of your privacy.
Me: But I've already given you my name, date of birth, SS# and my account number. You've verified my identity.
Ins. Rep: I know, but I still can't tell you what the code means.
Me: But, you need to know if this code was a pre-existing condition?
Ins. Rep: Yes.
Me: And you need me to tell you if the code is a pre-existing condition?
Ins. Rep: Yes.
Me: But you can't tell me what the code means?
Ins. Rep: No
Me: (heavy sigh) you don't see the problem here?
Lather, rinse and repeat this conversation many times over the next few weeks until finally an ins. rep is able to tell me that they've received all the information they need from my doctor and I'm good to go. So, while I still don't know if I have the mystery pre-existing condition, the insurance company assures me that the claim will be processed and all will be well. Yay! Birds are singing, bells are ringing, deer are frolicking in the fields and all is well.
Until last month when I received a nasty collections notice from the hospital. Seems the bill hasn't been paid and now they want it paid in full or they're going to send me to collections...words like ruined credit rating and garnished wages are thrown about and I'm confused as to why the bill is A. so stinking high and B. so freaking late. If someone owed me money like that, I might not wait a year before billing them. Just sayin...
Sigh. I call the insurance company and am told that the claim hasn't been processed yet because they haven't received all the necessary information from the hospital. What?!? Sigh again, louder, longer, and with swearing this time!
So, to the hospital? The sharpest end of a pointy stick! If you can't provide the insurance company with the required information, how can you expect to be paid in a timely manner?!?
And to the insurance company? Really? Incompetence is not something to which you should aspire and maybe your job interviewing process should involve a little something more than just shoving a mirror under someone's nose just to ensure that they are, in fact, breathing!!!!**
*BTW, the hospital? Wanted that $30,000 paid in 90 days. According to them, the fact that I only made about $12,000 a year at the time should not have presented an issue. Morons.
**obviously, I don't know that this is the exact requirement for employment in the insurance industry. I'm sure that there are many fine, intelligent people who work in insurance...I'd just like to actually talk to a few of them, it would do wonders for my stress level.