Today, as I sit in front of the fireplace, I’m grateful it’s a Sunday. That means most customer service lines are closed, so I can’t feel the urge to call my health insurance provider. Well, I can certainly want to call, but I won’t get an answer—which, in many ways, is a lot like when I do call. It’s an endless game of transfers and uncertainty.
“I’m sorry, I didn’t hear that.”
“Can you verify your ZIP code?”
“Oh, you need to talk to someone in billing.”
“Will you stay on the line to take a brief survey?”
It’s downright exhausting.
Keep in mind this is coming from me, a person who has a wealth of experience in the health insurance arena. I’m often more well versed in the lingo than the person I’m speaking to, which you may think would be advantageous. But most days it’s just frustrating to explain something to someone who gets paid to know the information you’re teaching them.
When I got my own health insurance plan after taking a full-time job, it was daunting. My mom had always been the one to deal with this aspect of life with a chronic illness, so I didn’t know much about the terminology. I couldn’t differentiate between deductibles and coinsurance. I could guess what “out-of-pocket maximum” meant, but I couldn’t tell you how it interplayed with other aspects of an insurance plan.
I was forced to figure it out because, in my case, as with countless others, understanding the process can be a life-or-death matter.
So, when tomorrow rolls around and the phone lines are open, I can continue the battle for medications and health care I’d rather not need in the first place. It’s dumbfounding to fight for something you don’t even want. It feels cruel—even criminal at times.
To all the people out there in the throes of your January insurance fights, I feel you. The system is a racket. Just keep on keepin’ on.
And dance to the hold music like nobody’s watching.