Contacting a health insurance company is a completely mind-numbing experience.
First you have to interact with an automated system that I’m convinced was designed by the creator of sudoku puzzles. After fighting your way through a maze of options, you wait on-hold for up to 30 minutes to speak with a representative who may or may not know how to operate the computer they’re using to answer your questions.
At that point, there’s a good chance you’re talking to the wrong person, so they’ll have to transfer you to someone else… with more holding, of course. Oh, and don’t assume that what they tell you is accurate. If it’s wrong, they’re not liable for giving you misinformation.
So I’m going to let you in on a trade secret. You deserve to know the truth… and that’s that doctors hate dealing with insurance companies. In fact, many physicians are simply refusing to accept insurance altogether by “not participating” with any specific company and “opting out” of Medicare.
And it’s not just doctors… More and more patients are realizing just how frustrating it is to deal with a health insurance company as well. I would argue that the only thing worse is two days of idle waiting during a jury duty summons, or perhaps an afternoon at the world’s slowest DMV.
Don’t make the mistake of assuming they’re doing the best they can – it’s chaos by design. Insurance carriers strive to pay as little as possible. To help achieve this, the reimbursement process is intended to aggravate the heck out of you.
My advice to those reading this is to use your coverage only for emergencies. If you can get by paying for a service on your own, do it. Even if you have a cheap co-pay… Pay for your healthcare needs out of pocket, because any claim you submit will work against you. (Consider your car insurance – when you file too many claims, they’ll either gouge you with increased premiums, or simply drop you because you’re considered a liability to their profits.)
In short, health insurance companies are like hemorrhoids. They’re both a pain in the ass.