Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Embarrassed (07/19/07)
TITLE: CONFUSED, FLUSTERED AND RATTLED
By Darlene Casino
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“Don’t forget, you need to call the insurance company today and resolve that matter…you need medical insurance!” With these parting words, ‘Himself' was off to work.
Already, my stomach was turning, my palms were beginning to feel wet and the lump was back in my throat. I thought of the last 4 months of phone calls to these people. Last Friday’s call will probably leave me traumatized for life!
My medical insurance was a group policy from work. When I retired a year and a half ago, it was covered under the COBRA plan. Now it was due to expire.
Not wanting any break in coverage, I began the end of April to secure a policy that would take over when this one was terminated. That was my first mistake! My early phone contacts were not unpleasant-just confusing. I seemed no number was ever the same and I was continually transferred, and unable to talk with the previous representative.
During one of these calls, I connected with a personal pay assistant and was allowed to apply for a policy like the one that would be lapsing. The happy salesman gave me his name, a plan number and tentative cost. “Yours will probably be less as the new contract prices come out in June, and I hear less costly.” He reassured me he was putting the packet of material in the mail that afternoon.
It is now May, and the paperwork had been signed and returned to the company. I became concerned when my doctors began scheduling appointments for June and July. I contacted the company, as I did not want to find there was no insurance in place. Again came the transfers and multiple repetitions of my story. Finally, a pleasant woman was able to corroborate my story on her computer. She reassured me a policy was in place. “Go ahead and keep you appointments and use your old card if necessary.”
Through out June, I continued to use my card without any problem. But when no bill was forthcoming, I began to get nervous.
By now it was the middle of July, and still no bill. Again I called and went through the usual aggravation. I was becoming flustered, because this person just didn’t seem to understand, nor had she ever heard about ‘retroactive policies’! My new problem was that no policy can go into effect until the previous is cancelled. “You need to call your company benefit provider and have them notify us of the expiration date.”
Six weeks had past since the cancellation date. The benefit representative had to return my call the next day. It seems they had not cancelled my policy as a ‘kindness to me’, because they had been waiting for a small amount I owed then for the first few days of June. Now, if I would put the check right in the mail, they would notify the insurance people of the termination date of June 5th. I hung up the phone with one question uppermost on my mind: Who was responsible for June’s medical bills?
I made the next call a week later. This time my member’s card number was rejected. (Obviously there had been the termination of services.) I waited to be connected to a live person. She listened for a while and then decided she needed to transfer me, and the put me on hold. A man answered and said, “I’m Bob, a sales representative, how may I help you?”
What followed was one hour of pure frustration, leaving me totally rattled, and foaming at the mouth while talking to myself.
So today was the day I was to resolve the matter. My first call was to a salesman for private pay insurance. No reference was made to any previous calls. Within twenty minutes. A plan was in place for $10 less than Friday’s quote. Our conversation was so pleasant that I could only look back on the previous interactions of the last months with a sense of embarrassment.
Then I remembered, it’s only 5 months until Medicare and the infamous ‘Plan D’…
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