Saturday, July 31, 2010

Saturday Morning Meanderings - Life's Challenges and Meetin' 'em, by Golly

I haven't written a "Saturday Morning Meanderings" blog in awhile - and I hesitate to do one now 'cause it's going to be a rant.

But, oh well - here goes.

Hopefully, I'll just get the rant out of the way and you'll stick around to see if this will maybe evolve into something more pleasant.  It will, I promise!

As you know, Donald and I have faced some challenges this summer.  For those of you who continue to drop me little notes asking how Donald is doing - Thank You!  He's doing wonderfully well.  He's still going to The Wellness Center for cardio-rehab three days a week and is working out like crazy.  He has to attend 36 sessions before he can graduate.  As of Friday, he had attended 21 sessions.  The therapists continue to toss out new challenges which Donald continues to meet and exceed.  He consistently gets glowing reports and he's enjoying his workouts and getting into such great shape.   As I said, he's doing wonderfully well, and I am a happy girl.

During all this, I had a little health matter of my own that popped up.  After going through some tests, that has ended up being a non-problem.  Most probably stress induced, but all gone now.  I'm finer than frog's hair, as we say in the south.  Nothing better than hearing a doctor say "everything looks good."

The challenge through all this which should most definitely NOT have been a challenge has been dealing with errors in billing, and the insurance company regarding Donald's heart attack.

For some reason some of the bills came back marked "no insurance info on file - please pay immediately."  It took awhile to get this corrected.   I "think" we've gotten this worked out.  But not without challenges.

SUGGESTION If you can - get yourself to the billing office in person, it's way more effective than attempting to correct something like this over the phone. 

SUGGESTION NUMBER TWO.  If you can't get to the office in question in person, do NOT settle for talking to the first person who answers the phone.  Not meaning to be ugly about this, but don't waste your time.  You're probably not going to be successful.   You'll hang up the phone feeling as though you were successful, only to find out when the next bill arrives marked "no insurance info on file - please pay immediately" (or something else egregiously incorrect) that you were led down the garden path and you're going to get upset, and your stress level is going to skyrocket and you're going to end up going through a mess of medical tests only to be told (at the very least) "it's a stress induced incident."  Go higher up the ladder to get results.  Go on-line, pull up annual reports or anything else you can find to get the name of the CEO or President of the company you're dealing with.  Call that number and ask for this person by name.  Of course you won't get them.  But you will get their assistant.  And that person will get your problem taken care of.  Guaranteed.  And you've saved yourself a LOT of time and a LOT of grief.  Let the folks getting paid the big bucks handle these issues.  They will - I promise.
SUGGESTION NUMBER THREE.  And maybe the most important.  Do NOT let your insurance company push you around.  And again, don't settle for talking to the first person who answers the phone.  Talk to (at the very least) a supervisor.  And if you're of a mind - tell them you're going to write an editorial to major newspapers explaining how the insurance company is trying to screw you.

Sit down my friends and let me tell you a story.

Donald was air lifted from Watauga Medical Center in Boone, NC to Mission Memorial Hospital in Asheville, NC.   A little less than 100 miles.  

Want to take a guess at what this ride costs?


Worth, of course, every penny when you think about the fact that it was part of a life saving procedure for the man who is my life's partner and my best buddy on God's green earth.

Problem is, we just really don't have an extra $9,790 dollars.


We do have insurance.

We work hard and truth be told, the insurance we have is one of the reasons a lot of us work, isn't it?

Well - trying to get them to pay this bill was a challenge.  Should it have been?  Absolutely not!!!!!!!  And I can tell you one thing.  There are a LOT of people who would have just walked away from this challenge.  They make it difficult enough, and have so much double talk scripted for them, that I can see how it could be easier for some people to just walk away and pay the bill themselves.  And, in my opinion, the insurance companies are counting on this.  Luckily, I had an angel on my side.  A woman (the head of the department) from the billing office for the helicopter medical transport service took me under her wing and assured me they were going to get this handled if I would just stand strong.  Between her going over and beyond her normal duties for weeks and weeks - calling me with updates often, coupled with me acting like the proverbial pit bull dog, we finally, as of yesterday, got this bill paid.  Not in full, of course, but the amount we now owe is significantly more manageable than $9,790.  Or at least that's what we were both told over the phone by the insurance company.  Neither of us have actually seen a check yet - but supposedly, it's been handled.  Believe me, if this turns out not to be the case, you'll hear more very soon.

I did go on-line to and have a box of chocolates sent to my friendly spunky angel woman who I now feel is a friend.

oTAY - enough of the rant.  Whew.  Feels good to vent sometimes, doesn't it?!  But the key is, I think, to move beyond it.

Count some blessings.
Have some belly laughs.

Indulge in a little pampering.

Make time to do some things you love to do.

Hug someone you care about.

Roll around on the floor with your children - including your furry ones.

My latest giggle comes from admitting I've once again had to eat my words.  WHEN am I ever going to learn?  I keep making sweeping judgments about things, and then not having enough sense to keep them to myself.  

I think I remember saying (more than once) that I'd never blog.  Didn't get it.  Thought it was a totally self-centered, self-indulgent activity.  Who would want to read my every thought?  Who would think I'd want to read theirs?!  Pfft.  Oh well - no sense getting into all that.  Seeing as how we're all right here - the proof is in the pudding.  I read dozens of blogs and get irritated when I get too busy to get to them all!  And some of you do drop by Meanderings and Muses often enough for me to keep writing.  Although, truth be told - it's mostly just for me.  I find this outlet to be such a huge part of my life that I can't even imagine being without it now.

I also remember thinking digital cameras weren't my thing.  Ha!  I can tell you right now.  If my digital camera breaks today  -  I'm getting a new one tonight.

And then there were all those things I said about eReaders.  Not interested.  Maybe later . . .   Well, my friends.  Later is here.  I'm hooked.  NOT that they'll replace "real" books in my life.  But.  I'm enjoying reading books in iBooks on my iPad.  And I downloaded the Kindle App when I found out:

a)  It was free.
b)  There are books available through Kindle that are not available through iBooks.

And then in just the past couple of days, we hear that the price of the Kindle has dropped to just over $100 dollars.  wow.  

Next time you hear me say "I will never . . . ," don't pay me a bit of attention.  I might be late to play the game, but probably, I'll play.  It's all about . . .   well, I'm not sure what it's all about, actually . . . .

What do you think?

Is it all about fun?

Is it all about keeping up with what's new?

Is it just joining in because I'm one of the sheep???!


oh well, whatever it is . . .  it is what it is.

and life is good.

Happy Saturday, my friends!


Unknown said...

Back in the early '90s, Judy had some serious and expensive surgery, and dealing with the insurance was a terrible experience. I don't even like to think about it. But in the last three years, she's had on-going and expensive tests and treatments, with the insurance thing moving along very smoothly. *Knocks on wood.* Even the switchover to Medicare went well.

Glad to hear Donald's doing so well!

Patty said...

"I will never" is usually a knee-jerk reaction to change and most people don't like change. When you do join it in it is because of encouragement, or someone you trusts has shown you how it can work for you, or you just decided to have a new adventure!

So glad that Donald is doing so well and that your problems were stress and not serious. Now, go relax with your IPad, cuddle with Harley and Donald and relax.

Sarah Shaber said...

I so empathize with this! I spent an hour and forty five minutes on the phone with BCBS over a prescription! And UNC Hospital tells us that we owe for 7 of Sam's visits because he was UNINSURED! We have sent them all kinds of proof, but still no correction! It is so stressful!
I agree, they are hoping we will pay anyway, and so many will. Here's hoping health care reform will help a little!

Jill said...

Great points on dealing with insurance companies. Kind of like trying to redeem a rebate. What ever you do..don't forget to cross those Ts and dot those Is. What a pain. By gosh they expect you to pay their bill, but do not want to fork it back over when you need it. Hang in there!

Sylvia Dickey Smith said...

And happy Saturday to you my fine online friend! I had to laugh at your 'never' stories. (I'd already sympathized with the insurance one, and that angel certainly deserves that box of chocolate!

But the NEVER story reminded me so much of my good guy, Bill. After long marriages for us both ended, he and I dated for five years, him swearing all along he'd NEVER remarry. We've been married 19 years now and not a not passes that he walks around to my side of the bed, kisses me, and thanks me for marrying him.


Sylvia Dickey Smith

Vicki Lane said...

So glad the insurance is getting sorted out!

Yeah, never say never. I thought computers were a dumb idea -- but that was back in the early early days of the Commodore 64.

Great post, Kaye!

Patrick Brian Miller said...

I'll never forget standing behind a poor fellow at the pharmacy and listening to the clerk TRY to explain the "doughnut hole" to him. As for blogs, the subjects have never been the draw to me; rather, it has been the people who write about the subjects through their unique personality/perspective, if you will. In other words, I'm not so much reading about many interesting subjects as I am reading about many interesting people.

Sheila Beaumont said...

Good for you, Kaye, for not giving up! It's great that you had an angel on your side.

I thought I'd never have any need for an iPod. Now I'm happily listening to Harry Potter during my morning walks. And I listen to music on it, too.

Hated the idea of a Kindle when I first heard of it. Well, I just got myself one, mainly because there are books I want to read that are available only, or most conveniently, as e-books. So far I've ordered a mystery by Donna Fletcher Crow and am in the process of ordering all of Lillian Stewart Carl's books except for the few I already have in paperback. Each of these books costs $2.99.

Happy to hear that Donald's doing so well!

South Jersey Quilter said...

Glad to hear the Donald is doing great!

I have Aetna for insurance, and they are wonderful. I had a series of hospital admissions this spring, and had some surgery mid-April (and again in May). Mid June got a letter from the hospital that the insurance didn't pay, and that I should contact them. Did it, and it had been pain the end of May. Called the hospital- Oh, they just hadn't posted it. Beginning of July, got the same letter from the hospital! I ignored it. Bunch of idiots.


dleisert said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kaye Wilkinson Barley - Meanderings and Muses said...

Hi, Guys! Thanks for dropping by.

Update Update - Good News!

The insurance Explanation of Benefits arrived in yesterday's mail and they paid all but $600 on the helicopter bill. Yay !

Thanks again for all the support. It feels good to vent, and it feels even better when you know people are there to lend you a should. Isn't it funny how our on-line friends have become such a "real" part of our lives?

Bill & Holly - I'm so glad to hear there are in fact some insurance companies that are honest and easy to work with. That renews my faith somewhat. I hate it that I'm becoming so cynical!

Patty - that makes perfect sense. We really do resist change, don't we? I need to have more adventures!

Sarah - Maddening!!!! I am sure the NC BCBS top priority is to drive us all stark raving mad. I am! Nothing else makes any sense.

Jill - Exactly! Most times when I mail off a rebate I immediately put it out of my mind. If it actually shows up it's a real bonus.

Sylvia, Hey! you made me laugh. Yep, I remember quite well saying, for years, that I'd never get married again. And by golly, I meant it! Donald and I have now been married 24 years. (another case of eating my words and glad I did).

Vicki! The Commodore 64! Oy! It's a wonder any of us ever tried to use a computer after that!!!!

Patrick, you are absolutely right! It's the personality with which most of my favorite blogs are written that keep me going back. The difference between making a subject interesting, or taking the leap to fun, clever AND interesting.

Sheila, thanks! I really do count Tom Petty's song "Don't Back Down" as my theme song. And that angel? She has a box of Godiva Chocolates on the way as a small thank you.