June 8, 2007

Michael Moore wants to hear your horror stories

Not so long ago, I blogged about my trials and tribulations with Blue Cross Blue Shield of NJ. I got a very interesting response that I will blog about later today or tomorrow, though I can’t say the outcome has been to my liking.

While my problems with BCBS have not reached the status of truly horrific, I do think they are indicative of the how many insurance companies operate: with total lack of transparency and often, integrity (again more on this later).

For those of you who have had horror stories, Michael Moore is now calling for collecting your horror stories as a consequence of the American health care system and health insurance companies. Do take the time to make a video if you have a story to tell.

May 25, 2007

Pricefull and Priceless

$ 5000 medical bill (that insurance won’t pay for)
$ 450 water bill in Puerto Rico
$ 150 library fine for one lost book that normally costs under 20 dollars

Anxiety and rage from dealing with these ludicrous bills: priceless.

Ok seriously I am now dealing with these three things and it has been really really really unpleasant. I sometimes wonder if I was once a bad as* Roman tax collector by the name of Biella Plebius and now, reincarnated as Biella Coleman, I am suffering the karmic consequences of extorting people in the 3rd century A.D.

Other times I take a lighter approach to all of this and console myself that if nothing else, I am learning a lot. For example, as I had mentioned awhile back, Blue Cross Blue Shield Horizon of New Jersey is stalling and denying health insurance bills for my mole surgery. Because I had a pre-existing clause in my contract, they are trying to squirrel out of it. However, since I never had a pre-existing issue with moles, I am pretty sure they are required to pony up the cash but getting them to do this has been a Herculean, no Sisyphean task.

Since it was clear they were not going to pay if I alone was applying pressure, I was about to file a claim in Special Civil court (the bill is too high for small claims court) but I wanted to see if I had any other options. So hours and hours after diligent web research, I finally found on lawyers.com that I can file a complaint against my health insurance via the Department of Banking and Insurance. I am amazed that NO ONE in the doctor’s office, including those whose only job is to deal with health insurance, had a clue about this option.

And even when you go to the Dept of Insurance website it is not totally obvious that you can file a complaint (it is under the “file for assistance” category). But once I got in touch with them, they have been incredibly helpful.

Now, my detailed complaint letter is with them, and some other documentation and apparently they have an investigator on the case. I am not sure if this route will be enough pressure to get the job done but at least by the time this is over, I will be in the greater NY area so that I can move to the court option.

The take away lesson here is that if you are having any trouble with claims and health insurance, do do do do file a complaint with your state Department of Banking and Insurance. This is a great first option to use.