Friday, February 25, 2011

A Day in the Life

Mr. Voice: "Hello, Megalithic Suxshit Insurance Company, can I help you?"

Dr. Grumpy: "Hi, this is Dr. Ibee Grumpy. In the past 2 days I've faxed you the same form on a patient 3 times and..."

Mr. Voice: "We haven't received a form from you at all, Mr. Grumpy."

Dr. Grumpy: "...and each time I do you guys call a few hours later to say you haven't received it yet."

Mr. Voice: "What number are you faxing it to Mr. Grumpy?"

Dr. Grumpy: "It's Dr. Grumpy. I faxed it to 1-800-FAX-HERE, the number printed at the top of the form."

Mr. Voice: "Mr. Grumpy, that's the wrong number. You should be faxing it to 1-800-SUX-SHIT. Where did you get that other number?"

Dr. Grumpy: "It's the only fax number on the form! It's at the top of the page, right next to a sentence that says 'Please fax this form to the following number.' "

Mr. Voice: "Just because it says that on the form doesn't mean you were supposed to fax it there."

Dr. Grumpy: "Okay, but if the number to fax it to ISN'T the one on your form, how do I find out what the number is that I'm supposed to use?"

Mr. Voice: "You need to request that number by sending us a fax."

42 comments:

Ashley Dawn said...

I recently found your blog, love it and have linked your blog on mine... hope you dont mind. :)

Grumpy, M.D. said...

Not at all. Thank you!

ER's Mom said...

Let me guess...United Health (they don't) Care?

Not House said...

Bureaucracy at its finest. What a nightmare.

CrownedwithVictory said...

I was going to say Cigna.

Queen Silly Britches said...

Having worked in medical billing and collections, I can tell you that all insurance companies suck sh!*. Some more than others.

GreenBean said...

*splatter* <--- brain

Sarah Glenn said...

Our IT department tried sending an email once to ask us if we were having trouble receiving email. It's contagious.

Anonymous said...

"so what's the fax number i am supposed to send a fax to request the fax number that i am supposed to send the form?"

GlassHospital said...

Look at it this way:

In our jobless economy, at least that guy and his supervisor and the HR department that handles them have jobs. Not to mention the CEO whose evil plan includes layers of bureaucracy between him and his stock options.

Library-Gryffon said...

I had a credit card company notify me once by mail that my previous two bills had been returned to them with "No such address" written accross the front. When I called them up about this, they couldn't understand the problem.

I cancelled the account, paid it off as soon as possible, and swore never to do business with them again. They couldn't understand why I did that either.

It took two years to get that mailman fired. He would send mail back to sender with that message several times a month for everyone on the route.

Packer said...

Post industrial American Economy. The only thing to do is to hunt down the investment bankers who thought it a great idea to ship American jobs off shore and have a "service" economy. And after finding them and bailing them out financially, extract revenge. Only thing worse is Govt. they don't even list a phone number or fax number on their correspondence. Or IRS, on page form, four pages of intstructions. Or do not return defective product to manufacturer, see if the stor will take it back.........Oh, gees, now you got me cranked up. Deep breaths.......

Azuka said...

Reminds me of the "There's a hole in the bucket dear Lisa..." song.

Kat's Kats said...

Gee, I just went through that with Unhinged Don't Wanna Unlock Your Own Money Nobenefits! I've been faxing them documentation for six months and only getting booboobrains on the phone who go, "What fax? Are you using faxnumberonform?" Yesterday I finally got someone who said, "Send this to my fax machine with ATTN: MyName" I'll be calling later today to see if s/he actually got it this time. ::head:laptop::

OldSquid said...

Reminds me of the commercial, "it makes sense if you don't think about it."

Anonymous said...

"We're sorry, Your call is important to us and will be ignored in the order received, if you think you have reached this number in error, please, hang up and call someone who gives a shit."

Eli said...

My personal favorite insurance company anecdote, as related by our family physician: A claim he submitted was rejected because they couldn't read his handwriting in the "Address" box. So, they mailed the "claim denied" notice to him...at his address.

Amy said...

Their business is collecting premium payments, not paying out claims.

Reddkatz said...

Worse ones to deal with: medical records requests. Those companies will fax you a request and expect you to find the chart and copy everything in it within 30 seconds because they will call you in 30 seconds of faxing.

Anonymous said...

You left out the part where the patient calls up and cusses out Mary for not doing her job.

Anonymous said...

That you talk about "Mr. Voice" proves that this tale is a complete fabrication on your part. It is a well-known fact that NO employee at any health insurance company has a last name.

Nurse K said...

I was trying to order some specialized medical supplies (not sold in stores, kids) and find out which mail order company is "in-network" for those supplies.

United Healthcare didn't know (after multiple phone calls, asking for managers, etc.) and said that I should just order some and see if the bill is covered. Each order is about $1000 full price. Uh. That would be a 'no'. Meanwhile, literally no one knows whom to order from, so I really do have to do that since the stuff is lifesaving. I'm just placing orders with various companies and telling them if the insurance doesn't approve it, to not process the order. Gotta love that sh*t.

Anonymous said...

For a very long and scary time my cellphone company would not send me a bill. After about 6 months of no bill I finally called and demanded to know the balance and a mailing address. They informed me that not only did I and my phone not exist in their system they did not even service my area. The truly sad thing though was that it was the same large telco where we worked.

Anonymous said...

This post reminded me of a recent call to an insurance company that has farmed their calls overseas. I was trying to get an early override for a change in dose on a medication. I was stunned silent for a minute...the call went like this.....
Insurance Rep: What is your name?
Me: Stacie
Insurance Rep: Spell that.
Me: S-T-A-C-I-E
Insurance Rep: Hi Nicole.

Leah said...

Uh-oh. You've the Pandora's Box of insurance complaints. Here's mine: The last time I called my insurance company about a claim they denied, they told me that it would be a HIPAA violation to tell me why they denied the claim, because it would reveal medical information to me. About me. The patient. She *refused* to understand what was so weird about this. I think it's cute that people think the government could find a way to do worse than this.

Anonymous said...

Reminds me of my previous Internet service. When I couldn't connect they would tell me to either visit their website to diagnose the problem, and when my email wouldn't work they would tell me to send them an email about it. I'm not kidding.

mcgee said...

LOL--do they handle commercial photocopiers as well? My husband has had that exact same conversation with his school's copier supplier. It's been going on for months. The lease will be up before they ever get it sorted out.

Lipstick said...

Poor Dr. Grumpy....how infuriating. What a hilarious post though. I'm lovin' everyone's comments.

I had a perplexing call to an insurance company last week. The rep was helpful, knowledgable, reasonable, and said, "we'll approve that for a year." Then we submitted the claim and it worked!!! It was amazing. I couldn't believe it. Poor lady. She probably got fired.

Laura said...

Were you trying to get a PA approved from Harvard Pilgrim Health Care? It seems they always have issues with their fax machines not working.Drives me crazy at work.

Stephanie said...

I'm an RN that recently worked for a very short time for an insurance company reviewing charts. All I have to say is the general public has NO IDEA how jacked up these places are! I would have never believed it had I not experienced it firsthand. It is all about the almighty dollar, and "how many ways can this case be denied?" It was definitely an eye-opening experience.

Watercolor said...

You know, even if the company has such dumb policy, you'd think the person on the phone would be human enough to not be so idiotic. I wonder if they even realize how stupid they sound. Or if they've been so completely beaten down they've given up. Sad.

Anonymous said...

it's a Monty Python world out there! you have fallen into the department of redundancy department, and you can't get out again.

pharmacy chick said...

REminds me of a statment on our board of pharmacy website about contacting them about matters of lisencing, etc...." if you dont have a computer, email us at......"
uh..ok.

Anonymous said...

Nurse K --

Hehe. I love it. I love the way the private insurance lobby type creatures say it gives us choice, and choice keeps health care costs down.

I went to a dermatologist and asked what it would to get this mole removed. They said it would cost between zero and $200, depending on what my insurance would cover. This made shopping around for a low-cost dermatologist/provider who'd give me good value for my insurance bill extra easy.

Almost six months later the dermatologist's office called me, saying my insurance was saying I didn't exist. I cleared this up. I asked the doctor's assistant who'd been dealing with this how much time she'd spent playing games with my insurance company, then looked up the average wage of a person in her position. I determined, via simple math, that my doctor would have saved both of us a tidy chunk if she'd offered me a 30% discount to not use my insurance.

The Mother said...

I have recently begun to appreciate the humor in these insurance company posts even more.

Or maybe I should say even less.

(PS--I'm waiting for a fax system that corrects my address, like Fed Ex.)

Anonymous said...

I work for an insurance company(please don't kill me) and trust me. We're not all incompetent morons... just most. I just want to finish school and get into the right PA program so I can go about helping people instead of saying "wel, your plan doesn't cover x procedure"

Kat's Kats said...

@Anon 2:22 This is very true. After many years of dealing with insurance companies I can tell who's a numbn... umm... idjet and who is just having to follow company policy. I do my very best to apologize and let them know that I realize it's not their fault and wish them polite customers for the rest of the day. That usually makes them respond with hysterical laughter but I think it also makes them feel a wee bit better. Good luck with school!

megpie71 said...

Geez, the fun I miss out on by living in a country with a socialised health care system (Australia).

Chris@Knucklehead! said...

All right, I usually give you the benefit of the doubt on these things but c'mon.

THAT DID NOT HAPPEN!

Please tell me you made that up.

Grumpy, M.D. said...

Sorry, Chris. It really did happen. Anything goes here, it seems.

Library-Gryffon said...

The HIPAA stuff is mandated by the feds, and most providers are so scared of breaking the (insanely unclear) laws that they over-react completely. My sister-in-law had an gamma knife procedure for a brain aneurism changed to open brain surgery, and had a stroke on the table. UVA informed her daughter, the next of kin, that because of HIPAA they could only release the info to another doctor, and she couldn't even get one of the UVA doctors to tell her what had happened (because she wasn't a doctor). At this point we don't know whether to blame over-zealous enforcement of federal law, or malpractice.

Currently I'm going through the whole work-up for migraines, and have found that my GP isn't allowed to order a sinus CT, only ENT can do that, so with a normal result, that is basically a pointless specialist visit Aetna is paying for. And there are certain tests that only cardiologists can order (I have a clotting factor issue so we wanted to rule out cardiac causes of the headache). That also came back normal, so that's another unnecessary specialist visit required by insurance. You'd think it would make more fiscal sense to let my GP and neurologist order the tests and only send me over to ENT and Cardiology if they came back abnormal.

I wonder if this is so they can say that they are spending the now federally required percentage of premiums on patient care?

My current dream is to start a national campaign: "Repeal HIPAA! Save a tree!"

Anonymous said...

You could not make this stuff up....but a lot of ins. cos. are making buckets of money out if it!

Cliff

WV: requit
(What? Again?)

 
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