Monday, February 11, 2013

Slithering along

Today is the Lunar New Year. Gung Hay Fat Choy. It is the year of the Snake.

 And I start it with Health insurance troubles. Connection? You be the judge.

I have been communication with Anthem Blue Cross at least weekly (weakly) since the the other New Year. I have written before bout the imposed changes in the prescription coverage that is wreaking havoc with managing Maggie's care. They are requiring we jump through hoops for two of her 14 medications by utilizing their "specialty" pharmacy. However, that  pharmacy is so very special it will not work with Maggie's medi-cal coverage thereby denying her the medication she needs without a hefty co-pay. If medi-cal is involved the co-pay will be taken care of.  The will mean  ANOTHER $300/month that Maggie is somehow supposed to absorb.

I have completed forms, made phone calls and written long sad letters in an attempt to be exempted from this program that effectively screws Maggie. Forms are mysteriously "never received," phone calls go into a black hole and the letters are seemingly ignored. It is all very fulfilling for the consumer.

Over the weekend several of Maggie' meds needed to be refilled. I thought it strange that the refills weren't automatic, but sometimes things get out of sync. I called to fill four medications and talked to the pharmacist to avoid any confusion in case auto refills were pending.  The pharmacist, who I obviously know very well, gave me the news. Their efforts to renew the prescriptions showed Maggie's Anthem Blue Cross coverage was dropped effective December 31,2012.

Ummmmm. WHAT?

That, of course, does not make any sense at all. Nothing changed at the end of the year. We have paid our outrageous premiums, they covered all of her prescriptions in January, and, as noted, I have been in contact with them numerous times since January 1.

So I start out the year of the snake dealing with this bit of business. I decided it was best to hit it first thing and went through the five minute voice mail system, complete with several sales pitches, to get to customer service. After jumping through all the electronic hoops I hit a wall.  I was too early and have to call back after 8:30 AM. Silly me, I presume people in other time zones have similar problems and Anthem might accommodate frustrated customers to the East. But I was wrong - at least about the second part of that sentence.

So the year of the Snake starts the way the Year of the Dragon ended.  I am still breathing fire and they are slithering along in the grass. I have to polish up my parseltongue* and be their first caller in the New Year.


*the capability to speak to snakes (parseltongue), known to be only a feature of those who are direct descendants of Slytherin. (from the Harry Potter books)


  1. This is so outrageous. I don't know about other insurance companies but Blue Cross seems really out of control. Hope you'll keep us updated.


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