F@*k You too, Modern Healthcare!February 6, 2015
I'm having a terrible day, all thanks to my national Health Insurance Provider.
I went to refill my prescription at the pharmacy attached to my doctors office, only to be told when I arrive that they no longer take my insurance: a well-known National Health Insurance Provider based in Philadelphia. Having just walked 30 minutes (for my health!), and after having recieved a robocall from this same pharmacy not 10 minutes earlier, I was aghast at the ineptitude.
F@*k you, Modern Healthcare.
Fine. This pharmacy will never again get my business. The fact that there's no link between their patient database and currently accepted insurance providers bothers me, especially for a multi-million dollar corporation.
The lanky counter person suggested an alternative three-lettered pharmacy might take my insurance, but I prefer yet another pharmacy. A especially helpful mobile website helped me dial my local Pharmacist for quick instructions on moving my prescription orders.
The super-friendly Pharmacist even followed up with a few calls to sort out my insurance. Alas, her final call came with bad news; according to their records, the Pharmacist told me, my insurance had been cut off on April 30th. Did I have a new ID Number? Perhaps a new card?
I promised I'd call her back once I settled this issue - it must be a mistake. I'd signed up early, directly with the provider (bypassing the terrible Obamacare website), and had coverage since January 1st of this year. I setup automatic payments to be withdrawn on the 2nd of every month. I (like most men) rarely visited my doctor, or cost my insurance company too much. Why would they suddenly drop my coverage?
I checked my bank account records for evidence of my payments. I noted there was no charge in May... Another ominous clue.
I hit the Health Insurance Provider website. There should be an obvious warning, a signal of an account error, right? Nope. The poorly organized (and skinned a half-dozen different ways) website leads consumers into a loop of useless information (that you can update!) and webpages that request you call a 1-800 number.
F@*k You, Health Insurance Provider website.
I despise calling 1-800 numbers unless I have to. I've been repeated been left on hold for hours and been (not) helped by operators who promise that 'they are here to help me to ensure we settle your dispute today.'
The first two operators made me recite my 12-digit member number before they quickly diagnosed that they were helpless, and could only offer to advance me up the chain of empowered employees at this behemoth bureaucracy. Wait time for each: 20 minutes.
I hate being on hold; the shmoozy jazz music just too quiet to hear on speakerphone, the oft-repeated message of the recorded female operator blanally apologising for the long wait time, with a suggestion to 'settle billing issues right away'.
The third operator expressed her concerned dismay at my problem, but acknowledged that the supervisors required were already busy. She willingly accepted my phone number and a promise to call back with a settlement before 5:15pm.
After a total of 55 minutes on the phone, I was glad to hang up.
F@*k you, Health Insurance Provider phone support.
As one might expect, at 5:14pm, I got a call back. 'We fixed it' the helpful operator quipped, 'We don't know why it was cancalled, but we turned it back on. Next time you try to refill your prescription, it'll just work'.
The non-helpful answer didn't quell my fears. I muttered in annoyance, “So what about my billing, are they going to invoice me for May, or do I expect I have to setup a new auto-pay?”
The helpful operator didn't sound so helpful. I'd be keeping her late. The clock ticked to 5:15pm. She gave me the now-standard 'that's not my department' speech all operators are told to memorize before offering to 'stay with you until I can connect you to a billing representative.'
She put me on hold; that jazz again. I fumed.
After a surprizingly short 4-minute wait, the last operator reverted back to their unhelpful state: She claimed the Health Insurance Provider billing system was updated a full 48 hours after the coverage system, and that even though my account is now back on, they can't do anything on my dormant account. I'd have to call back in 2 days, once Health Insurance Provider's huge computer network was all updated to the most recent data.
While that seemed to be an inept answer to poor IT practices, especially one of the size and manpower of this national Health Insurance Provider, I knew there was going to be no satisfaction today.
F@*k You, Health Insurance Provider billing.
F@*k You, Health Insurance Provider database administrators.
F@*k You, Health Insurance Provider.
I still don't have my prescription, and I'm considering stopping it altogether. I have been repeatedly abused and disapointed my modern healthcare. From doctor's who make you wait an hour and a half, to convoluted phone systems designed to thwart even the most die-hard people, I think my time and money are far better spent doing preventative maintenence, and avoiding the medical system altogether.
The blood-pressure lowering medication I take seems part of a larger conspiricy to 'fix it with a pill' that the modern American medical system seems to love; recent evidence of a normal increase in blood pressure in all older adults points that doctor's 'standard' expectations and evaluations are probably wrong.