Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Random Resolutions: Keep on Calling your Insurance Company

Most people may think that being a chronic patient allows for swathes of time and relaxation opportunities, in between medical appointments and other healthcare activities. Well, I can attest that is entirely not true. I cannot keep up with nearly anything. If I tried to not live any type of meaningful, proactive life, maybe there would be time. I have become passionate about not being complacent in the system -- this includes treatment, billing and insurance, and rehabilitation -- easily packaged as wanting to be an empowered patient, which is a full time job.

After all my broad medical experiences over the years, including treatment and consumer challenges I cannot simply blindly believe what anyone has to say, which can make me a pain in the ass to some, but my own best friend. It is exhausting and sometimes incredibly frustrating, but, if I don't do it, no one will.

There are so many times, I could just walk away from an insurance debacle or medical procedure decision and, just avoid dealing with them. And boy there are times I have, but I find I have to drag my sorry ass back to the table because I wouldn't be able to stand myself for giving up.

Here is a short story about dealing with insurance, which resulted in a success story, but when you consider the method of resolution I think it is immensely frustrating:

I have found nearly 9 times of 10 with insurance/billing problems the more I simply go back, make another call, find another operator to speak to, I can resolve my insurance/billing issue and have them pay, or get the doctor to write off charges.

Recently on one series of bills, it took 5 or 6 times of sending the documents insurance said they needed/didn't have to find out that they never undated the newer documentation in the system. In and amongst those 6 calls one insurance operator for Aetna, said, Mam, you need to appeal, that is all you can do. I threw my hands up, but several weeks later (2 weeks ago) I tried again, and finally got a reasonable rational result. The result I originally expected which is that insurance should have paid the charge. The bummer is that the result was merely achieved by persistence, nothing really savvy, but not giving up. It is frustrating because it is random. There is often no rhyme or reason and that sucks.

The lesson of the day: Keep on Calling!

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