Et tu, Kaiser?

The day’s barely half over yet and I’ve already yelled at two members of the health insurance industrial complex and spent two hours toggling between various automated customer service call centers that don’t, in fact, provide customer service.

My next claim is gonna be for costs incurred from an insurance-induced embolism.

I’m actually thrilled that United Healthcare has fled the California market exchange. Good riddance, I say. Their modus operandi seemed to consist of: 1) insisting claims were not submitted properly; 2) insisting they never received the claim in the first place; 3) denying the claim without explanation; 4) hanging up on you when you try to confront them about 1, 2 or 3. I have one remaining claim with UHC. That claim was submitted over a year ago. Recently, it was denied because the filing deadline has passed. My medical provider has given up on me and submitted the bill to a collection agency whose number is perpetually busy.

I curse you, UHC. May all your executives go to hell where they’re forced to spend eternity fielding customer calls from Urdu-speaking members while hanging suspended over a flaming pile of rejected claims.

Now I’m signed up with Kaiser, who is new to Santa Cruz County. I have a prescription that must be filled today. Their automated pharmacy service insists I’m not a member. I speak to an actual human being (at least, I think it’s an actual human being) who sighs and commiserates before admitting that their system is screwed up. Then I choose a new primary care doc – but the only way to make an appointment is through Kaiser’s automated scheduling service. I navigate through an endless menu of unhelpful options clearly designed to convince callers to switch to another healthcare provider. Finally, after requesting an appointment in February, the system offers two options. Both in January.

Et tu, Kaiser?

It’s time to try the old fashioned approach to health care. I’ll get in my car and drive down to Kaiser’s new Santa Cruz office on Locust Street. Perhaps they’ll let me in the door without having to punch in a special code I don’t yet have. The waiting room will be furnished with massage chairs and bowls of peanut M&Ms. A cheery receptionist will greet me with a hug and a lollipop. She’ll hand me my new ID card (which I still haven’t received) and ask the staff and doctors to come out and greet me. My new primary will whip out a blood pressure cuff and announce my blood pressure is actually below normal before slipping me her home phone number. A nurse will weigh me and suggest I gain a few pounds. A lab technician will offer to give me a pedicure. Puppies romp around the waiting room and everything is free.

A girl can dream, can’t she?


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