December 10th, 2018
Medical insurance and coverage.
If you don’t have that, I wish you the best of luck in finding immediate care for anything similar to what I’m searching for.
To recap this morning, I first contacted my insurance provider, Blue Cross Blue Shield. My coverage does not begin until the first of the new year and the woman, although pleasant, told me there was absolutely nothing she could do for me. I figured this would be the case, but it was worth a shot.
Fortunately, access to what will be “in network” doctors and facilities are available to me, so I began the process of cold calling. It’s Monday morning, and the expectation of speaking with peppy individuals was an irrational thought. Not to mention, it’s the weeks following Thanksgiving and leading to the holidays, so the places I’m connecting with are probably flooded with inquiries and attempts to be seen.
Side note: During this time of year, millions of the population are in a jovial and cheerful state but all the same, equal amounts of people are reeling worse than anytime of the year. I wish more in the world understood that.
Going on, after about an hour to no avail. Whether it be 15 minute holding times, or the occasional “we’ll call you back,” I became frustrated and took a break to read a bit. This has proven to help me in the past, especially within the last 72 hours. Once places were informed that I was uninsured for the next 21 days, I was put on the back burner over and over again. I had probably attempted to contact about 10 or so places by then. What confused me though, was that I was VERY straight forward in explaining to them that I did not mind paying out of pocket, no matter the cost.
Assuming I’m just awfully uneducated on the systems in which these establishments operate, it still irks the hell out of me. Hey, I’m literally trying to throw money at you to get some help, here. What gives? As it may sound like a complaining rant (which is kind of is), there were instances where the phone wasn’t even picked up or just rang into an expanse.
After about 2 hours, I connected with an installation that was pretty punctual in answering. The woman on the phone however, seemed as if it were a burden that I was taking time away from her Monday morning Facebook scroll. Yes Jenn (no, not her name and I never got it), everybody got blitzed at Greg’s ugly sweater party.
Before I could even explain my unique situation, in a monotone, uninterested voice began asking me my name, date of birth, who my insurance provider was…and then she stopped. It’s like she’s been trained to halt everything at the mere occurrence that an individual may not be covered.
“Okay, well just so you know, our inpatient programs are the only ones available to you, and it’s $1425.00 per day to be admitted, and there is a 5 day minimum deposit.”
Holy f****** shit. $7,125 to even be considered for acceptance into a program. I was kind of blindsided but at the same time, I somewhat expected numbers to be astronomical for those without any type of insurance. Not only that though, her tone was as if that amount of money was something I’d never in a million years be able to come up with. Before I could respond, she continued to tell me that an outpatient program was available once a certain number of sober days had been reached, and that these were the costs.
So yes, maybe I should adjust my viewpoint on the availability of care, since it only took me about 3 hours to find somebody that would take my information down. Maybe it’s protocol for the majority to stop and inform potential patients of the costs before they even move on, as to not waste any time. I’m still waiting on calls from about 4 other places though, and it’s been a few hours so my confidence level is a tad low.
My point is, what if I was a millionaire with unlimited disposable income? You’d probably have just lost my business, and had your boss heard the way you were speaking to me, they’d have terminated you immediately. You are a facility that specifically helps treat people that are going through times that they can’t handle on their own. Some of them are incredibly desperate, so making them feel inadequate and unwanted right off the bat seems fairly repugnant to me.
I haven’t even come close to finding the best (or even good) ways to come back from disappointment, which coincidentally is a category as to why I’m seeking some treatment. With that said, speaking with “Jenn” was a blunder and it began to feel like it was going to be hopeless until I was covered. It may seem like my situation isn’t so unique but when explaining it to folks, a large number of responses included “why don’t you just wait until you’re covered?” Uh, why would I be calling you if I wanted to wait? I’m looking for help as early as yesterday. These are the types of situations where, even a week ago, I’d throw in the towel and concede to simply “forgetting” about it. I wanted to blame them and mope that it was unfair, and that it was too hard.
That was an option, and it still seems appealing because I’m barely scratching the surface on how to handle these kinds of hiccups that occur on a daily basis.
This is vital to the rest of my life and for the first time in many years, I’ve began to feel a sense of urgency when it comes to tackling things both big and small. A separate post to follow on that. In the meantime though, planting my ass in a chair and chugging on was the plan. The feeling of being diligent was pretty good, even though I wasn’t making much headway.
By now it was around noon and I had been on the phone with a woman for about 5 minutes, going over my situation and the best course of action for me. Accustomed to being disappointed all the time, largely due to my lack of diligence, I hadn’t gotten my hopes up. Honestly, I was just waiting for the dagger of “best of luck, but there is little we can do at the moment.”
To my sweet surprise, the representative started answering my queries before I could even ask them. What was happening? It was like she had dealt with this before! For the first time in a while, I didn’t feel alone, it was magnificent.
We chatted for about 10 more minutes, as if she would have spent all day on the phone with me if I needed her too. I had a ton of questions, partially because I’m in uncharted territory and I’d like to be as prepared as possible. Not only for me, but for them as well. I set an appointment and it felt fantastic, not only because I had executed something that had proven to be way more difficult than I anticipated, but because there was another step made in the progressive direction. Sometimes the smallest steps can feel like you’ve climbed a mountain.
Being diligent and unrelenting is what I believe got me to the progress point I’m at this evening. Instead of succumbing to self-doubt and settling for nothing, I became more fierce than the frustration. More focused than forgetting and more confident than cowardly. I have a long, long way to go, but it felt good to overcome something, even if it’s the equivalent of you making a dentist appointment.
Oh, I did that, too.