Monday, December 14, 2009

Another Health Insurance Fail

A couple of months ago a fellow widow asked me to write about some of my health care experiences.
So I wrote about my experience with Roger's health care.
But I forgot about one important part.

Last November, I quit my job as I have written about.
I worked for a very wealthy hospital system.
One that owns and operates their own insurance company.
The insurance was awesome obviously since they also own about half of the hospitals and doctors in the area.
All of my health care expenses with them were covered.
Even the ones incurred at their main competitor in town.

After I left, they offered their health insurance to me at the non-discounted rate.
I could not live life without insurance at this point in my life.
My paranoia would not let me.
So I swallowed hard and paid the almost $350 per month.

It was a good thing too.
I experienced some health problems during the first three months of this year and again I was covered.
Big sigh of relief.

I also knew the $350 payment per month would not be forever.
I knew once I was a full time student at the university, I could apply for student health insurance.
It would not be as great as the insurance from my pervious employer but it would work until my next employer.

And then, one night while watching television, I saw an ad.
Blue Cross Blue Shield promising good insurance at a cheap price - $150 per month.
"Wow, that could save me about $200 per month until school starts."
So I tried to do the online application.
Annoying to say the least.
The application taking the information sucked.
The amount of information they wanted sucked.

Then came their supposed customer service.
First, I paid online right after completing this long application.
Then I heard nothing for about a month.
Nothing in the mail.
Nothing via email.
Nothing via the phone.

On the brief confirmation email I had received initially right after completing the application, there was not a phone number.
I went back to their website.
I called the number on the website.
"Oh, you are not calling the right phone number. I cannot help you."
"Oh come on."
"I do see we received your payment and a nurse should be calling you soon."

Finally about a week later, a nurse called me.
She asked me all the same damn annoying lengthy questions from the online application.
"But I answered all these questions before."
"Yes, but I have to ask you again."
"Then why do I even bother answering them online. It took an hour to complete online."
"I am not sure."

She asked me about my counseling.
My grief counseling for the death of my husband.
I answered all the questions honestly.
At that point I had probably been in counseling six months.
Which seemed short to me for such a big experience.

Another nurse called me a week later.
"Oh, you already completed the nurse questionnaire?"
"Oh, no one marked it complete."
Surprise, surprise.

Then nothing.
I called again.
"Oh, we mailed out your information. You should receive it soon."

I received it a week or so later.
I laughed when I read it.
They would cover me alright.
But they would never cover any mental health issues for the rest of my life.
For my entire life, no medication, no therapy, nada.
No way in hell.
No fucking way in hell.
Because I am in therapy for my husband's death, I could not ever use any other mental health benefits.
Got to be kidding.

So I promptly wrote back that I did not accept.
I was not mentally ill.
I lost my husband.
Then came getting my money back...
Another long process...

Entire process about two and half months (not including getting my refund).
I will never ever willingly have Blue Cross Blue Shield.
What a joke of a company.
What a joke of customer service.

I continued to pay my $350 per month until August.
Until I could get my student insurance.
Who accepted me for who I am.
Accepted all my "mental health" issues of being a widow.

Oh the joys of health care and widowhood...


Supa Dupa Fresh said...

Good heavens. I have had SO MANY bad experiences w/BCBS I could fill a book.
But in our state they would not have been allowed to deny me coverage based on this.
This is absolutely criminal.
Is it okay if I add this to the testimonials Mr. Linky? I kind of abandoned the project b/c the bill was in the works... now I wonder if I should revive it.

Sonja said...

When my husband died, the Union he was a member of graciously covered my son and I for an entire year. (lucky, since I was pregnant when he died and there is NO WAY anyone would have covered a pregnant woman). Anyway, this August, I had to start looking for new insurance. The first company denied my coverage because of counseling and an anti-depressant. The second company accepted my application, but marked my rate up 60% because of counseling and anti-depressant, saying I have an "anxiety" disorder. Funny none of my doctors or counselor every diagnosed me with such!

It's ridiculous the things we have to go through as widows. As if it's not enough that our husbands died.

Roads said...

Fortunately, in the UK we're covered as of right and entitlement rather than as of insurance.

I'm not surprised you're angry. The insensitivity is astounding.