I really, really, really, hate phoning the health insurance company. First I called the number on my card, went through two voice mail menus, waited five minutes and talked to someone who was very nice, but said I had to call another number because another company was responsible for refusing to pay my doctor. Lovely.
So I call the other number, get through three voice mail menus, get a “Your call is very important to us,” which loosely translates to “Go away little ant, we’re busy,” get through to a real live person (I’m pretty sure she was alive at least) who says “Can you hold while I close out my last call” and promptly puts me back on hold. This company had some nasty hold music. Someone in Hubby’s old company switched out the CD of classical music they were using for people on hold, and replaced it with Guns N Roses “Appetite for Destruction” once. I would have preferred Guns N Roses to the twinkly, syrupy, easy listening sludge they were piping at me.
The “customer service representative” came back finally and did the whole twenty questions “What’s your name, address, daytime phone number, star sign, shoe size, breakfast cereal preference, favourite exotic fruit, etc.” thing. I don’t like that because people over the phone sometimes get confused with my accent and think I’ve given them false information. After the interrogation, I finally get to state my case. “No, I’m not seeing a claim for that date,” my friendly CST says. “Huh,” quoth I. “Oh yes, there it is,” she says at last. The screw up was them misfiling the claim, then refusing to pay for it because it was in the wrong system. It’s their fault, and I get a $98 bill and panic that I’ve done something wrong.
I thought it was pretty funny when the voice mail menu said “If this is an emergency, please hang up and dial 911.” They waited until you’d gone through the voice mail menu before saying this, as if I’d be sat on hold bleeding from a severed artery, calmly waiting because “all of our representatives are currently busy with other customers.”
They say you get what you pay for. You don’t pay for the NHS in Britain exactly, but it’s generally OK. In America, you are a health care consumer. You paid for it, you have the right to jump up and down and shout if they mess it up, because they messed it up on your money. The customer is always right.