Monday, June 29, 2009

Insurance Hell

See How They Run. Oil on canvas board, 8x10

I spent the day in insurance hell. It's been just about a year since I left journalism. We've been on COBRA'd insurance ever since. Until a few months ago, we had Blue Cross. But then, my former company switched to Tufts, and everything fell apart.

Our premiums jumped by more than 50 percent. The insurer simply rejected everything out of hand. Every medication, every treatment, their first response was "no." It brought to mind "Great Benefit," the horrible insurance company in the John Grisham book "The Rainmaker." We've applied for coverage from another insurer - cheaper monthly fees, but a gruesome deductible - and are waiting to hear.

On Friday, Peter went to the pharmacy and was told that we were no longer insured. Believe me, we spent the weekend being very, very careful.

Today, I spent my time on the phone getting very, very angry.

To cut a maddeningly long story short, I will relate only the penultimate interaction I had with the company. It had been trying - for weeks and weeks, the Tufts guy said - to get through to someone at my former company, named "Beth Welnetz."

This is a name I've never heard. "Well," the Tufts guy told me, "she's the one who handles insurance. We've called her over and over, and we have to speak with her before we can do anything about your insurance. She just doesn't return our calls."

OK, I said, I will track her down. Tell her to call extension 8593, the Tufts guy said.

I called my former company, and the woman who handles the insurance there told me that Beth Welnetz... works for Tufts.

I was like one of those cartoon characters with steam coming out of my ears. I called Tufts back and left an infuriated message for the guy I'd been dealing with. I called the general number and burst into angry tears at the person I got on the line. Finally, I called the extension the guy had told me to have Beth Welnetz call - and it was HER extension. I left the angriest message ever on her phone.

An hour later, the problem was solved. Three people from Tufts called me and apologized. One asked whether there was anything else they could do for me.

Oh, my. These are not bright people.


Unknown said...

Yikes! I'm surprised they are still in business. Maybe these three are all related to the owner of the company. I'm also surprised that today's painting is not all fire and brimstone. I'm also taking a great new word.. penultimate...with me.

Love the painting.... gives me the feeling of being boxed in with no way out...

carrie jacobson said...

You and me both, my friend. Thanks for your comments. I had that boxed-in sense when I was painting this one, and that was what I was going for... so, success!