That Insurance Racket Is Killer

, , , , | Working | February 8, 2021

Automated System: “Hello, and welcome to [Insurance Company]. How may I help you?”

Me: “Person, please.”

Automated System: “I understand that you would like to speak with an agent. Please help me make sure you get to the right person by saying [list of categories].”

Me: “I don’t know. Billing?”

Automated System: “All right. I’ll get you an agent in billing. To better serve you, please state the nature of your problem. You can say [list of categories].”

Me: “None of those apply.”

Automated System: “Please say [list of categories].”

Me: “Which category do I pick for ‘My medication is temperature- and moisture-sensitive, we’re in the middle of a hot, humid August, and your company is making me get this through the mail? A mailbox, by the way, which is over a mile from my house?!'”

I am a bit angry. Just a bit.

Automated System: “Getting you a billing agent.”

Agent: “How may I help you?”

Me: “Hi. I have a medication that is temperature- and moisture-sensitive. I can’t use your mail service. I need to buy my medication at a real store, but your company won’t pay for that.”

Agent: “I’m sorry, but I can’t help you with that. Let me transfer you over to approvals.”

This song and dance went on for over an hour. I transferred back and forth between half a dozen departments. In the end, I was told that I could either pay $400 for a bottle at my pharmacy or sit by the mailbox all day. Oh, and I could make sure it got there at an expected time by paying an overnight delivery fee of $25! Yay!

Fed up, having no money for either fee, and feeling exhausted, I decided to get it through the regular mail. The medication did not come within the promised week.

I was taking the medication for a blood clot. I ran out of my medication, and my doctor had to prescribe a different type of medication — one she didn’t like because it was dangerous for me to take — just to hold me until the real medication arrived. They paid for the second one in store because it was a new medication, even though it was twice as expensive.

Another week passed, and my doctor called them, very angry. They decided to send my medication overnight as a “complimentary service,” which meant that they had never sent my medication in the first place.

No amount of complaining has done anything. I am stuck with these guys until they succeed in killing me.

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So Much For Reliable Transportation

, , , , | Working | February 3, 2021

[Coworker #1] has a disability. Because of this, she is a part-time employee and a transportation service for disabled people drops her off in the morning and picks her up during the lunch break. 

One day, it is 12:40 pm when [Coworker #2] in the parking lot calls out to me.

Coworker #2: “Did you see [Coworker #1]? Her transport is here.”

Me: “Yes, I just spoke to her. I’ll get her.”

I run to the break room where [Coworker #1] is eating her yogurt. 

Me: “Your transport is here.”

[Coworker #1] starts finishing her yoghurt quickly.

Coworker #1: “They told me they were arriving at 1:10 pm.”

When [Coworker #1] gets outside:

Driver: “Ah, we waited for you!”

Coworker #1: “Uh, yes. I was told you were coming at 1:10 pm and I didn’t get a text message saying you’d be here earlier.”

Driver: “Yes, I forgot to take your number, but if you stay outside, there will be no problem.”

Coworker #1: “I should stay for an hour eating in the rain in case you’re early?”

Driver: “And if you answer me back, we’ll leave you here until 5:00 pm next time.”

The rest of us usually finish at five.

On another occasion, the receptionist receives a phone call from [Coworker #1]. 

Coworker #1: “I can’t come to work today. My transport just called me and they took someone in my place.”

[Coworker #1] is reliable, but the receptionist, with the advice of the executive secretary, decides to call the transportation service for disabled people to be sure.

Transport Employee: “Yes, we had an out-of-time registration, but it was someone important, and then we would have had to find a third driver and a third vehicle just to pick up one person. We had to refuse someone else, instead.”

Because of this, [Coworker #1] lost a day off. 

Unfortunately, that is the only company that offers this service in our city and [Coworker #1] has to make do with it. And having seen the reviews, she is not the only one to have problems with this company.

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Time To Throw In The Towel

, , , , | Working | February 3, 2021

I work overnights at a hotel. I mostly do desk auditor duties, but we’ve lost our laundry attendant and a few housekeepers. Our higher-ups told my managers to not hire a new laundry attendant, so I’ve been doing laundry at night.

I start work at 11:00 pm. On this particular night, there is so much laundry to be done and I feel slightly overwhelmed at the sight. I get started, but every five minutes, there’s a ring from our desk bell or a phone call from a guest upstairs. After an hour, I finally give up on trying to do laundry since there’s so much activity at the front desk. 

Then, I get a guest who rings our bell insistently until I arrive. Their key isn’t working, so I recode it and give it to them.

Guest: “I think it’s so rude it took you so long to get here.”

I smile feebly.

Me: “I’m really sorry about that; I was in the back trying to get some laundry folded—” 

Guest: “Seriously, don’t they pay other people to do that?”

Me: “We used to have a laundry attendant, but we don’t right now, so my coworkers and I all do our part to help.”

Guest: “That’s just ridiculous. You’re a desk person so you should only be doing desk duties.”

Me: “Again, I’m really sorry about the wait. I hope the rest of your night goes well.”

The guest took my hint and left in a huff. A couple of days later, a review came in saying that the hotel needed to hire a laundry attendant since it’s unfair for paying guests to “wait so long for the desk person to return.” 

The higher-ups still won’t let us hire a laundry attendant.

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Read Her Mind; All You’ll Hear Is A Busy Signal

, , , | Working | February 2, 2021

Some time ago, my company transferred me and I had to change my family’s medical plans. Shortly thereafter, I got a small bill from our previous doctor. I had no idea what it was for, so I called the billing office.

I got a busy signal. This was in the days before call waiting, phone trees, and voicemail; they just answered them as their phones rang. So, I sat at my desk at work with the bill in front of me and periodically hit redial on my phone.

I started this on a Monday morning. On Thursday at 11:00 am, after an interminable number of tries, someone finally picked up. She identified herself by first name only.

Me: “Hello. I received this bill from your office and I don’t know what it’s for. Can you help me?”

Representative #1: “I’ll need your patient number.”

I no longer had my old card with me.

Me: “Where can I find that number on my statement?

Representative #1: “I can’t tell you that.”

Me: “What does it look like?”

Representative #1: “I can’t tell you that, either.”

It’s hard to judge but I sensed she was enjoying herself. After going around in circles for a few minutes, I hung up, frustrated.

I went home and found my wife’s old card; from it, I learned that the patient number was just my Social Security number, and it was displayed on each page of the bill without defining it as such. Armed with this, I started the redial process again.

It took me another three days to get through, and luckily, I got a different representative. When I told her my issue and started to give her my number, she said:

Representative #2: “Oh, I don’t need that. I can find you by your name.”

To say I was irritated was a massive understatement.

It turned out that the charge was legitimate, but I had wasted hours unnecessarily due to the first rep. I thought for a day and composed a letter to the office referencing the bill. I described what I had gone through with the first rep, mentioning her by name, and ended the letter thusly:

Me: “I don’t know if [Representative #1] was lazy, incompetent, or just nasty, but her lack of service was inexcusable. She made me waste far more time than the value of your bill; if you wish payment, I suggest you get it from her as you are paying her for a job she is unwilling or unable to perform.”

I never heard back and never got a second bill.

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Best Wishes To You And Trashy!

, , , , , | Working | February 1, 2021

Many years ago, I worked for a large US corporation that had multiple functions scattered among several companies. During a downturn in the business, management decided to merge teams from different units for “efficiency.” No thought was given to the possibility of culture clashes.

At the time, I was a professional doing specialized technical work in a small group. Our new manager came to see me and told me I was their choice to lead a team formed from three units performing four distinct functions. I had trepidations but my options were to take the job or a layoff, so I became a middle manager.

Among the people working for me was the man who had previously been my supervisor; that had its moments but it was far from the worst part of the job. The worst was trying to deal with two unionized groups from different companies.

In a previous career, I had been a union member, and I understand the value unions have had in getting the American workplace forty-hour workweeks and other benefits. Initially, I had no qualms about dealing with them.

This is about one woman in particular whom I shall refer to as Trashy McTrash. 

Trashy wasn’t a meth addict and didn’t live in a trailer, but otherwise, the moniker fit. She had a cheap blonde dye job, wore clothing inappropriate for her age — mid-fifties — and was a heavy smoker. Union negotiations allowed for three ten-minute smoke breaks per day; by noon on Tuesdays, she’d exceeded her week’s allowance. She stridently demanded promotions but if I gave her a task that was a bit complicated, she’d refuse, saying it was a Level Two job and she was only a Level Three. Her phone time was over the top on personal calls.

Why didn’t we terminate her? Thank union contracts. Plus, she was just one issue among many and she was skilled at tiptoeing up to the line but not crossing it. 

And then she got remarried.

My last name is moderately uncommon, somewhere near the bottom third of US names, so it surprised me when Trashy’s new husband had the same last name. She took his name, so instead of being Trashy McTrash, she was now Trashy [My Last Name]. 

This was mildly interesting, albeit slightly annoying, until people began asking me if she and I were married! Professionalism prevented me from saying what I really thought of her — especially the smoking; three family members have died from the habit — so I simply corrected the questioners. Then, I got a call from HR.

Apparently, there is a company rule against supervising spouses and he started in about having my “wife” on my team. I managed not to gag and rather stridently corrected his assumption but told him if he really wanted to replace me, I’d be more than happy to stand aside.

Sadly, that was a non-starter and I had to finish out two and a half years in the job.

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