Who’s Next? Part 1
I stepped up to the window. “Caren Baker.” I handed the pharmacy tech my ID. She typed the number into her terminal. She tried it again, checking the number as she typed.
I fidgeted. It always seemed to take forever to pick up my prescription.
The tech sighed. “I’m sorry Ms. Baker. This says your insurance has been cancelled.” She looked at me with sad eyes.
All I could do was blink. “But I’ve had that insurance for the last eight years. How can it be cancelled?”
She shook her head. “I’m very sorry. You could pay cash, until you get it straightened out.”
My brain whirled as I tried to absorb the shock of being told I had no insurance. What was going on? “Um. Okay. How much?”
“A hundred and twenty-seven, ninety-eight.” She stared at her keyboard.
“A hundred…?” My words trailed off. I had no idea the medicine was so expensive.
What else was I going to do? This was the newest med for control of my hormonal system on the market. My doc had been so pleased to offer it to me. “It’ll change your life,” he’d told me. And it had, I thought as I slid my credit card into the reader. I’d felt better than I had in years.
She put the pill bottle in the bag, stapled it shut with the instructions and the receipt and handed it over. “Good luck,” she said.
“Thank you.” I left the window and headed for my car. Over a hundred dollars for this stuff. When I got home I complained to my husband about what happened.
“Your insurance is cancelled?”
“That’s what she said.”
“You mean they didn’t approve the prescription.”
“No.” I flopped down in my recliner next to him. “She said my insurance was cancelled. Did you see a letter from them?”
His head slowly shook. “No. Anyway, I give all your mail to you. I wouldn’t toss anything addressed to you.”
“Yeah.” He didn’t, of course, even the stupid catalogs and junk mail. He always put it on my desk for me to decide what to do with it. I got up and went into our office and sat at my desk. I searched my inbox, well, permanent storage of files and projects I needed to work on. I sorted clear to the bottom of the basket, unearthing projects that had settled to the bottom in despair of ever being worked on. Nothing.
I drummed my fingers on the glass desktop. Wouldn’t they send a letter if they were cancelling my policy? They wouldn’t just drop me without a notice, would they? Would that even be legal? Then I searched my files for the insurance company phone number. None. Just the website. So I went to the website, finally found the help center button hidden at the very bottom of the page and of course, there was a contact form. No way to get even a live chat. I sighed and filled it out, asking for a call, then hit send. They’d get back to me within twenty-four business hours. Ugh. Three days? That’s what passed for customer service now?
The next day there was an email. A form letter, if you will, telling me they received my request and were processing it. More waiting. The next day there was an email telling me, after a lot of legalese and butt-covering, that my policy had been cancelled per paragraph, blah, section blah-blah. What? I dug out the policy and flipped through the pages until I found the section and paragraph. In size six font it said they could cancel the policy at any time upon their determination. Furious, I read through the entire section. Finally, at the end, there was a number to call. I pulled out my notepad and dialed the number.
I gave the robo-responder my name and my policy number, then was shuffled through three departments before landing with Gail.
“How may I help you today?” She sounded so chirpy. It was annoying.
“My pharmacy tells me my policy has been cancelled. I sent a contact form and I got back a form letter telling me, basically, that you can cancel my policy at any time. I’ve been paying premiums to you for years. What’s going on?”
“Ms. Baker, let me research your file. I’ll have to put you on hold for just a moment.”
“Fine.” I waited, drumming fingers. She was back in just a moment.
“Yes, Ms. Baker. I have it in your files. Your policy has been cancelled.”
“I didn’t get a letter telling me that. How can you drop a policy holder with no notice?”
“Well, she rattled off the section and paragraph numbers, say that your policy can be cancelled at any time.” She sounded so confident.
“Look. There has to be some reason. I’ve been with your company for years. Shouldn’t there at least be a letter with a notice?”
Again, in her chirpy voice. “I am sorry, Ms. Baker. Let me see if a note was made. I’ll have to put you on hold again for just a moment.
“Fine.” I’m afraid I was short. I paid my bill on time. I paid it in full, every month.
She came back on the line. “I see the note now, Ms. Baker. It says here that you have a pre-existing condition.”
“Yes. You use our policy to pay for a hypo-thyroid medication. You’ve been on one medication or another, a new one now, I see, for several years.”
“You cancelled my policy for thyroid meds? More than half the people over forty in the country are on thyroid meds.”
“I wouldn’t know about that. But that’s what it says. Pre-existing condition.”
“But. That’s ridiculous.”
“I’m sorry, Ms. Baker. Can I answer any other questions today?”
I couldn’t think of what to say. “Uh, no. Not now.”
I hung up. What was I going to do?
More next week.