So.... yeah.... Yesterday sucked.
If you follow me on social media, you know I was at the doctor yesterday. I got a new plan this year, which I was super excited about. When I initially chose my plan, a Blue Cross Blue Shield person walked through it and I made sure to go through everything with a fine tooth comb and ask plenty of questions. She told me all I had to do was decide on a primary care physician and that I could do that whenever I wanted. Great right? So, I used their search feature when the time came and while none of my doctors were eligible for the new plan, I was fine with choosing a new doctor if that's what had to happen. Not ideal, but whatever. I scheduled my appointment and this is how it went...
11:45am - I promptly show up 15 minutes early to the appointment (as instructed) to fill out new client paperwork. The place is small... single story... and kinda old. Everything inside was out-dated. It was kinda like going to your grandma's house. There was even a pink cross stitching piece framed above the admin's window. It also smelled funny... mildew-y... and just kinda old. I wasn't going to let this sway me, though. There could be a genius yet very humble doctor at this place.
12:10am - I'm shown into the examination room. Nobody weighed me which I thought was weird. Every other appointment at every other normal sort of doctor that I've gone to involved getting weighed by the nurse at the beginning. But whatever. Now I wait...
Has anybody ever gone to a doctor appointment when the doctor was on time? I don't think it's ever happened to me. 19 min late.....
— The Allergista (@theallergista) March 3, 2014
12:30 - The doctor walks in. She asks me what's going on and I tell her my story... Except she's not really letting me get it all out and keeps interrupting me... which worries me because it's important for her to listen thoroughly so she understands what's going on. I actually used all of my patience on her when she cut me off at my cat allergy and the fact that we have a cat. She proceeded to launch into her own very opinionated mini tirade as she sat in her chair.
This is part of what she said: I don't understand why you live with a cat. There are a couple things that aren't logical to me. If you're allergic to something, why would you be around it? it just doesn't make sense. Just get rid of the cat.
ME: Well it's my boyfriend's cat and I moved in before I knew about my allergies.
DOCTOR: Well, so? I mean, doesn't your boyfriend love you?
Honestly, I can't even remember what she said next because she just kept rambling and I was still stuck in the moment when she asked me if my boyfriend of over four years loves me. What the hell? I've had this conversation with other doctors and this is a kind way to go about it:
FAKE POTENTIAL DOCTOR: Can you get rid of the cat?
PATIENT: No, we love the cat.
FAKE POTENTIAL DOCTOR: Ok... If you must.
SEE THAT? See how easy that was? No need to be rude and condescending. So, she was nice aside from that... Obviously her people skills aren't quite on par. I asked her for a referral to a couple of doctors including one who can do allergy testing for synthetic fabrics. She asks me why I need a referral and I say because I have an HMO plan. She tells me mine is PPO which I know is untrue. She goes back to the admin office who says my temporary insurance card (my real one has supposedly been mailed to me 3 times and I've never received it) didn't indicate PPO or HMO. I tell them I know for sure it's HMO. So, the doctor writes me a phone number to call for one of the doctors and says she can't really write me a referral since they don't know what sort of plan I have.
Other than that, she took my blood pressure and that's it.
1:15 - I walk back to the admin window in the lobby. Admin girl tells me that they're still on the phone with Blue Cross Blue Shield and to take a seat. I'm thinking... man I hope this doesn't take long.
1:20 - Admin girl calls me to the window and tells me my coverage isn't active. I said, "what?" and scrunched my face up as I thought... I pay my own premiums with my boss's credit card, so I know the coverage is in force... man, did I miss a payment somehow?? I told her it had to be wrong. I printed out my insurance card just a couple days before! She said that I could call Blue Cross if I wanted, but that my coverage isn't active. Admin girl also tells me that I can't leave without paying and I owe $160. I said, "woah, I pay my premiums, everything is paid for. I have coverage. I'm not paying you $160. Can you call them back?"
ADMIN GIRL: We already spent enough time on this. You can call if you'd like.
ME: But I have to go to work. I can't sit here on hold for 30 minutes or so.
ADMIN GIRL: Sorry. You can pay us and then take it up with Blue Cross Blue Shield later.
ME: Yeah, but then I'll have to get a refund from THEM and who knows how long that'll take. (Keep in mind that I pretty much live paycheck to paycheck. $160 is a lot to me)
ADMIN GIRL: Yes.
ME: (now I'm pissed because I'm wasting time tooling around this doctor office when I need to be at work) You know, you guys have an office and that's what you're supposed to do here: connect with the insurance company.
ADMIN GIRL: We called Blue Cross - we did what we were supposed to do.
ME: Obviously, you didn't do enough.
I wanted to lay into her about customer service, but I knew it wouldn't help anything. I wanted to yell at her and tell her that I work with a lot of clients and there is NO way I'd ever throw them to the wolves like that. It's not THEIR fault that whoever I have to call has stupidly long wait times on the phone. Hire more people. Care a little more. SOMETHING. So, I called my co-worker, told him what was going on, apologized, and got my boss's credit card number in case I HAD missed a payment and needed to make one right then. Meanwhile, admin girl is complaining very unprofessionally to one of the doctors about me and the doctor goes (and makes sure to say it LOUDLY) "Well, we did what we could do." grrrrr.....
1:25 - I call Blue Cross and sit on hold.
2:00 - Joy! Somebody finally picks up. I tell her what's going on and she tells me that my coverage is indeed ACTIVE which I gloriously tell admin girl as I walk up to her window. The person on the line tells me she'll transfer me to the department that can help. Instead, she puts me back to the ORIGINAL menu in their call system.
2:15 - I hang up because I'm so incredibly pissed that I'm going to have to wait for god knows how long. I take a breather for a second.
2:16 - I call Blue Cross Blue Shield back.
2:45 - Somebody finally picks up! I explain to him what's going on and to please not put me back on hold because I will lose my mind. At this point, I've been at the doctor's office for almost THREE HOURS. I hand him over to admin girl and they talk for a while. After him going between us a few times, he tells us that the doctor isn't in my network.
3:00 - I lose my shit. As soon as he tells me that, I realize that I'm going to have to shell out $160 for NOTHING.... for referrals I can't even USE! I was livid. I told him that I followed all of their instructions and asked how this could happen? He said I must have done the search wrong. He said that another doctor network had been assigned to me and then I should have changed it. I asked him what doctor was assigned to me and where are they and he gave me the name of a doctor FOURTY minutes away from where I live. What the hell? I would never go to a doctor that far away - not for regular stuff! I told him that NOBODY told me that I would automatically be assigned a doctor and would have to change it. I told him that I used the search system that the initial person who set up my account told me to use. I told him that this was BULLSHIT, that they've made NONE of this easy and that they just SCREWED me out of $160. I said, "Look, I haven't had lunch. I can't leave without paying them. I've been here for HOURS and now I'm standing in the middle of a doctor's office lobby angrily swearing! That's how insane this is making me!"
3:20 - I hang up with Blue Cross, defeated. The doctor who had previously loudly stated that they "did all they could do" looks at me with an endearing look and tells me that I shouldn't give up... that I should speak with one of the supervisors about this and fight the $160 charge. The other doctor hands me a bottle of water, pats me on the back, and tells me that they're not after my money - that I didn't have to resolve it right then. I told her I wouldn't have stood in their office taking care of this if I wasn't told that I had to. Admin girl threw me daggers with her eyes at that comment, but whatever. She can suck it. She wasn't even trying to be nice about anything.
3:30 - I get in my car, dial Blue Cross Blue Shield in the off chance that they answer before I get to work. I am prompted that the wait is over 60 minutes long. Ugh.
4:00 - I get to work, walk through the parking lot, go up the elevator, get situated at my desk and hang up my phone. There was no way I was dealing with that any longer.
— The Allergista (@theallergista) March 4, 2014
It was awful. Other than somebody telling me some awful diagnosis, pretty much everything at that office that could go wrong... went wrong. Yesterday's appointment was a COMPLETE waste of time.
Now I just have to wait until I have the opportunity to hash all this out with Blue Cross...
Has anybody else had problems switching over to a new doctor with this big new health care plan switch this year?