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The *Click* At The End Of A Story Was Never So Sweet

, , , , | Right | CREDIT: applesaurus772 | October 9, 2021

At my call center, we handle a specific benefit where members can purchase over-the-counter items with a credit that the plan gives. Mostly, we handle Medicare and Medicaid recipients.

My day is going all right and then this screaming banshee comes through the line.

Me: “Thank you for calling [Insurance Company]. My name is [My Name]. Who do I have the pleasure of assisting today?”

Caller: “My name is Mrs. [Caller], spelled—

She lists out the spelling of her easily spelled first name but doesn’t spell out her last name.

Caller: “—and I’m calling for my mother. Did you get that?!”

I roll my eyes to check on my few remaining brain cells.

Me: “Yes, Mrs. [Caller]. Is your mother available to give me permission to speak with you?”

It’s always easier for us to get permission from the member; otherwise, we have to call over to member services and see who’s on file simply because we don’t have access to it. That’s the plan’s choice, which we have no control over.

Usually, this is when important information comes up, like if the member has a physical disability or anything like that.

Caller: “Oh, fine. Here, talk to her.”

The caller hands the phone to her mother, and I hear garbled mumbling and a very choked, barely formulated yes. I start to give my recording script when the phone is snatched back.

Caller: “Did you hear her? She said yes!”

Me: “Unfortunately, I have to actually speak with the member in order to verify their identity.”

Caller: “Ugh. I’ve never had to do this before, but fine.”

She hands the phone back to her mother. I hear a garbled yes and indecipherable words and start to go into the recording script.

Me: “For security purposes, can you please verify your name?”

I hear mumbling and another yes before the phone is snatched back again.

Caller: “She had a stroke; all she can answer is yes or no questions! God, you have to make everything difficult. I just want to place an order!”

Me: *Rolling my eyes* “Yes, I’m sorry. I did not know your mother had a stroke. Let me go ahead and confirm with member services that you can speak on the member’s behalf. Can I get the spelling of your last name?”

She begrudgingly gives me the spelling while complaining. I put her on hold and call over to member services. Guess what? No power of attorney under her name is on file. Great.

Me: “I’m very sorry, Mrs. [Caller], but we do not have anyone by your name listed that can speak for the member.”

She starts cussing and screaming.

Caller: “I HAVE NEVER HAD THIS PROBLEM BEFORE! I WANT TO PLACE AN ORDER! JUST TAKE THE D*** ORDER!”

She then goes off somewhere with the phone. In the distance, I hear the mother saying yes again.

Caller: “She’s saying yes! Can you hear her? Now take my f****** order!”

Me: “I’m sorry, but since you’re not on file, I cannot take the order as the member, as you stated, cannot confirm their identity. In the meantime, you can use our website to place an order.”

Caller: “I DON’T WANT TO USE THE WEBSITE! I WANT TO PLACE AN ORDER NOW!”

Me: “Due to HIPAA laws, I cannot access her account. You will have to use the website.”

Caller: “What’s HIPAA? NO ONE HAS EVER DONE THIS BEFORE!”

More screaming and cursing follow.

Me: “Ma’am, HIPAA has been around for decades. No one in my department would have given you access if you were not listed on the account or if the member could not verify their identity. You will have to use the website until you can send in your power of attorney documentation.”

Caller: “NO! I’M GOING TO PLACE AN ORDER!”

Then, the phone changes hands.

Caller’s Husband: “Hi. What is the problem here? This is Mr. [Caller’s Husband].”

His name also is not on the power attorney form we have on file.

Me: “You’re not listed on the account and the member cannot verify their information. To protect the member’s health information, due to HIPAA, you are not allowed access to this account.”

Caller’s Husband: “This is ridiculous. Do we have to switch companies? Because we will cancel the insurance policy if you don’t place this order.”

Me: “I’m very sorry, sir, but no insurance company will allow you access to an account you’re not listed as authorized on. Due to HIPAA laws, if I granted you access, I would be jeopardizing my job, and there are criminal charges associated. No company is going to give you access. Now, again, you have to use the website. That is your only option at this time until we have a power of attorney form on file with Mrs. [Caller]’s name attached to it.”

Caller’s Husband: “I want to speak to your supervisor! This is the worst customer service I’ve ever seen! You just don’t want to do your job. Get me a supervisor.”

Me: “Unfortunately, without an account and without you authorized to speak on behalf of the member, you cannot speak with a supervisor.”

The caller takes the phone back.

Caller: “I WANT TO FILE A GRIEVANCE!”

Me: “Because you’re not listed on the account, you also cannot file a grievance. Now, as I’ve stated before, you can use the website to place an order until your power of attorney paperwork is filed. Otherwise, I cannot assist you.”

Caller: “Well, I’m NOT HANGING UP AND YOU CAN’T DISCONNECT THE CALL!”

Me: “I’m very sorry about that, but I’ve given you your options. And you can stay on the call if you would like; however, I will not be able to assist you with this account.”

Caller: “Well, you’re f****** useless. I don’t have time for your bulls***! I want your name and your employee ID and your supervisor.”

Me: “For security reasons, we do not give out last names or employee IDs. My first name is [My Name].”

Caller: “I want your supervisor and last name. You have to give me that information.”

Me: “No, I do not. My last name is classified for my protection.”

Caller: “You’re such a b****. F*** you.”

Me: “Have the day you deserve.”

Caller: “Likewise, c***.”

Click.