Tuesday, December 2, 2008

To: Insurance Companies, From: Me, Subject: I win

Me this morning

Within an hour and twenty minutes this morning I went from calm and relaxed to almost hyperventilating due to panic attacks and finally back down to cool and confident. Here's what happened.

I was informed yesterday that some doctor's visits I've had may not be covered under my insurance. Insurance companies, being privatized and built around the concept of profit, don't like to pay out when people make claims. It costs them money and they don't like that. It's possible that people defraud them from time to time, but I would cynically guess that most people are just denied when they legitimately have problems. Case in point, an old roommate of mine, Jared, had a skin condition on his hands that looked frighteningly like leprosy. He didn't have insurance and so never went to get it checked out; I kept expecting his hands to fall off. Then he got a job and received insurance, but once again couldn't go because it would be considered "pre-existing" and as such wouldn't be covered for 12 months. I can only assume he got it looked at eventually since he still has hands.

He's investigating a Krispy Kreme

This morning I made a call to my insurance company and they said there's an "investigation" into whether or not this is a pre-existing condition, because if it is they won't cover it for six months since I didn't have coverage prior to theirs. This perplexed me on two accounts: one, this was not a pre-existing condition, and two, I had coverage. They said if I can get a "certificate of continual coverage" then that'll say I was covered prior to being with them so it doesn't matter if it's pre-existing or not. I don't carry my old insurance card anymore since I don't use it so didn't have a customer service number to call but assumed I could find it online. This proved harder than I expected. Their website has absolutely no phone numbers to call. None. Thankfully some company that uses the same insurance company my father does had left their contact information online and unsecured. Don't tell anyone.

Calling their customer service, they asked for my ID number, which I didn't have, or the account holder's (my father's) social security number, which I also didn't have. They tried to look up my name in the system but it brought up nothing; nor did the name of the company my father worked for. All accounts they found for his employer were "termed" which meant they were no longer with them. This means I couldn't look up my information or coverage. Without that I can't say I was covered and can get hit with a pre-existing coverage bill. Joy.

Me after talking to my Dad

I called my father and spoke with him about this. According to him I haven't been covered under his insurance since at least last December and possibly as far back as last May. This caused me a small amount of nigh catastrophic panic. If I hadn't been covered then that means there's no way I could get this covered if they claim it was pre-existing. I asked him for a customer service number anyways and he gave me his ID number and said my name is still listed on the card, so that's at least something.

Calling my old insurance company again, this time giving them my ID number and birthdate, they found my account with no issues at all. The woman gladly informed me that not only did I have coverage as of last June (when my new insurance kicked in), but that I've still got coverage through them;

I would have sent her these

the account was still active and I could still make claims through it. Somehow my new insurance company not only missed that I was covered six months ago but that I'm still covered. The woman on the phone said she'd be happy to mail me a "certificate of continual coverage" saying I've been covered since January 1st, 2004 and am still covered that I can then fax to my new insurance company. I was very grateful and told her if I knew where she lived I'd mail her cookies for saving me potentially several hundred dollars in medical bills. She thanked me and said she was glad to help. She never gave me her address.

Now I'm just waiting for the letter. It should be here in a few days. Then I'll fax it to my insurance company with a picture of my finger.

Best. Advice. Ever.

That was my morning.

I realize this may not be the most interesting story to read due to the inherently boring nature of insurance claims and for that you have my apologies. I had an idea last night for a topic but it skipped my mind by this morning. Stupid sleep and letting my good ideas run off.

1 comment:

Jared said...

I never did get my hands looked at. And, yes, they are still attached to my wrists. It would be fully covered by my insurance at this point, it just seems like such a hassle to go to the hospital to get endless diseases cleaned up, no? You should see my fingers now. They're back in the meatloaf stage.