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Thursday, March 16, 2006

The one where I am beaten with a baseball bat

OK, not really. But it sure feels that way.

I woke up this morning with so much pain in my back I felt like I must have been attacked with a baseball bat in my sleep. But no, it's just back pain. My husband says I was crying out in so much pain in my sleep he had to go sleep on the couch- and he says I scared the kitties too!

I will also document the pains of American Health Insurance, volume 1: my personal experience in the last 12 months. With a sidebar, of course, that I know how lucky I am to even have health insurance- I've got until December to enjoy it and then my coverage expires (I'm on COBRA).

1) An ER visit last April. All bills have been paid dutifully by my insurance except the ER doctor bill. For some reason, there is a disconnect between the hospital and my insurance, and my insurance has never received a claim. Meanwhile, I receive a threatening letter every few weeks from the hospital for failure to pay. My insurance says they will cover it in full IF THEY WOULD JUST RECEIVE A CLAIM ALREADY.

2) A routine check-up in June. The secretary was unable to verify my insurance status and forced me to pay cash up front. I charged it to my credit card (at this late date can I get my money back from my credit card?) The office, despite claiming they couldn't verify my insurance, also billed my insurance, which of course, paid in full. Despite numerous phone calls, letters, and even a complaint with the Better Business Bureau, I don't think I will ever see my $225 back.

3) I got married in November. Woo-whee, adding a spouse to my health insurance took from December until, well, this morning, when he was finally successfully added. But first I had to pay for him in January, February, and March.

4) Adding said spouse to the insurance has caused some major accounting glitch in my account. My account is now "UNDER REVIEW", for whatever that is worth. Despite paying on time, they have decided randomly I need to pay his insurance for now THROUGH SEPTEMBER or else they will cut off all of my insurance by the end of the month. Despite reassurances from the salespeople that this is not the case, why don't I feel any better?

5) Changing my name to my new married name. Ha ha ha ha ha!

I spend on average a half hour per day on the phone, sometimes an hour if they put me on hold. Once I waited an entire work day for them to call me back. The next day when I called them back, they asked for my phone number again so they could call me back. When I asked them if anyone was really going to call me back, the woman was so flabbergasted she ended up helping me.

I have begged, pleaded, nay prayed to them for help, as I don't understand why all of this is so difficult. These problems are a symptom of a system so plagued with troubles, it's almost easier to not even go to the doctor at all.

I feel for those of you who have no insurance at all, I really do- and I will likely be joining your ranks in December. It's all such a big mess.

*OK, I'll step off the soapbox now*


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