Forget Clinton, forget Trump. Who cares about our differences in race, creed or religion? As ‘Muricans we are all united in a common cause at this crucial moment in history… our shared disgust with health insurance, the companies that provide it and the federal law that totally screwed it up, perhaps forever.
The annual enrollment period for Obamacare has rolled around again. Time for a little pop quiz, kiddies.
If I am on the phone waiting to speak with a “customer advocate,” who am I trying to reach?
- Better Business Bureau
- Small Claims Court
- Health insurance company claims adjuster
- Carry out counter at the China Palace
First, let’s eliminate the obvious. An “advocate” is one who represents and pleads the cause of another. That’s probably not going on at #3 or 4, so we’ll cross them out. The word “customer” indicates a business, so we’ll cross out #2. That leaves #1, the Better Business Bureau, right? Wrong.
I had a little accident in the kitchen the other day. The cut was pretty deep and I thought I might need medical attention, so I called my health insurer’s claim department to find out what my plan would pay.
I’m not going to name the insurance company; suffice it to say they’re big. Really big. We’ll call them the Indigo Plus Sign Insurance Company of Illinois. After navigating a phone tree so convoluted it reminded me of the old kids’ game, Chutes & Ladders, I finally reached the claim department. Their on-hold message promised my call would soon be handled by the next available “customer advocate.”
I thought claims adjusters were employees. I thought they were mere corporate tools, forced to toe whatever party line “the man” laid down. I assumed their job description would be, “Avoid shelling out even one, thin dime to the poor, working slobs who pay our salaries. Maximize profits so corporate big wigs can fly around in the company jet, eating caviar and drinking champagne from the shoes of high-priced floozies.”
I was so wrong.
This company’s claims department is staffed with “advocates”. They’re on my side.
As my on-hold wait extended into its 3rd hour, I thought about my “advocate” while I alternatively loosened and tightened my tourniquet. I pictured her as an earnest young woman with long hair, glasses and Birkenstocks. She’d thought about joining the Peace Corp when she graduated from college, but chose to give back to society by working for the Indigo Plus Sign Insurance Company of Illinois instead.
I would go into the claims review board feeling like I was facing a firing squad, but no worries – my advocate would be by my side. She’d pound the table and shout, “Peg has been paying us $1317 per month for the last 18 years (going up at least 25% next year, of course.) This is her first claim. Now that she needs us, we can’t turn our backs on her. She needs proper care, she deserves proper care, and I won’t rest until she gets it. With God as my witness, we will approve full payment of one Band-Aid!!! (After her $30-per-residential-dressing copay, of course.)”
That’s when I knew; this time would be different.
Am I wrong to hope? Could this be the delusional fantasy of a starry-eyed idealist? Maybe. Or it could be the delusional fantasy of someone experiencing extreme blood loss. We’ll find out as soon as it’s my turn to talk to my “advocate”. I’m sure it will be any time now; I’ve been on hold for 4 days.