Sunday, May 10, 2015
Is there a Doctor in the House? No Seriously....Is there?
Well, it turned out that Kynect was changing my coverage and my insurance provider...effective March 2015. "Why?" I asked. Because there had been a change in their income formulation. I advised the "navigator", as Kynect likes to call its customer service folks, that nothing had changed on my part. However, the change in calculation was on their end and as a result, I couldn't keep my current provider. Needless to say, I wasn't happy. At that point, I was transferred to a new department; one in which I would have to deal with from here on out.
Well, as it turned out, I had a upcoming visit to my primary doctor of 32 years for my annual physical in a few weeks so I decided to wait and see what happens. After all, I had been told there wouldn't be any problems and I would lose my primary doctor. When I showed up, I was told they no longer accepted my insurance provider effective the first of January. Not a problem I thought. I told the receptionist that I would go ahead and pay cash for the visit. "Sorry, but you can't do that" she said. She went on to tell me that under this policy, it was either accepted or I walk. I was not allowed to pay cash, check, or even credit card for the office visit. To do so, I was further informed, would be considered "fraud". WTH? So, I left feeling slightly embarrassed and more than a little flustered. Because of a change in policy calculation that I neither had anything to do with or knew about, I lost the insurance policy I liked and in the process my primary doctor of 32 years, and, oh by the way, what about my prescriptions?
The 10 days came and went without a word, so once more I was on the phone. I called everyday for almost two weeks beyond their 10 day cutoff date. Finally, I heard back. I was told that they wouldn't allow me to keep my primary doctor. I had previously stressed that not only was this my doctor of 32 years, he's also a subspecialist and as far as I knew, the only one around! While my now former bestie went on to repeatedly apologize, she managed to work in that there were no appeals, but they would be happy to help me find a new doctor. Really? Someone who is a subspecialist? Well, no I was told, but they may be just as good! It was at that point I started to wonder just how bad prison food really was.
When she returned and after the obligatory "I'm sorry for the problems you've encountered", we got down to business. I told her that I needed more doctors. She suggested that I give her the names of those I called; it might make things go a little faster. I was again given six more names (and with each their names got more difficult to pronounce). She then asked me how I was doing on my prescriptions. I acknowledged that I was getting low. She asked what I was taking, which I happily provided. She then put me on hold while she spoke with their in-house pharmacy. While I was on hold, I blissfully thought to myself that maybe, just maybe, they could help me with this problem resolved (such are the straws of desperation made of).
When she came back (and apologized again), our conversation began anew. First, she read back to me each of prescriptions, milligrams, and frequency I was taking them (oh boy I thought, maybe the gray clouds were finally clearing). I dutifully confirmed each one and what they were for and for how long I've taken each. After we completed the inventory process, she started reading back each one from the top then informed me that I would need to get a new prescription from your doctor. Huh? "I have to get new prescriptions?" I asked. "Yes" she said. "I don't have a primary doctor" I said. "How did you get the medication?" she asked. "From my primary doctor". "You just said you didn't have a primary doctor" she said. "I don't know. You all won't let me see him any longer". "Why?" she asked. "Because he doesn't accept your insurance " I explained. "Then you can't see him". "I know" I said, "and I can't pay cash for the office visit right?". "Under our policy, you can't pay cash for the office visit. It would be considered fraud". "I know" I said. "So, how do I get my prescriptions refilled?" I asked. "From your doctor". "But he doesn't accept your insurance" I said. "Then you
As for one prescription in particular, she said the doctor would need to call and get permission to write the prescription first. "Why?" I asked. "Because of the nature of the medication". "But I've been taking it for close to 10 years and it's the only thing we found that works" I said. "Would you like to speak with our in-house nurses?" she asked. "Why?" "So they can explain your medications to you" she answered. "You mean the medication I've been taking for 10 years or the other medications I've been taking for the last 15 or so years?". "Yes sir, those". I politely explained that I most likely know more about my medications than their in-house nurses. "If I did, can they refill them?" I asked. "No sir, you have to see your doctor for that" in perfect monotone. Then it dawned on me. Those weren't gray clouds over my head. They were pigeons.