Nothing like ending a week off with a shot of clinic followed by a work chaser.
My annual check up was on Monday morning, and when I reported to the clinic with my extremely expensive health insurance card in hand, the receptionist ran the card, and told me there was a problem with my coverage.
I called Anthem, and spent the next 20 minutes on hold. I was still on hold when they took my blood pressure, which probably didn’t make it lower. I finally talked to someone when I was in the exam room waiting for Dr. Sue. The Anthem representative told me that my account was a) inactive; and 2) in a “grace period” since the January bill hadn’t been paid. I pointed out that grace periods were usually more than 5 days long, and I was just getting a check up, for which I had already paid $45 (it was $50 when I didn’t have insurance). She said to have the receptionist call them and they would give the clinic the approval, but that I needed to call Covered California to renew my insurance for 2015.
Dr. Sue gave me the thumbs up on my own health, and I was on my way to the jobette.
I called Covered CA when I got home from work last night, and the rep who looked up my account said that I had been dramatically overcharged for the past 9 months, to the tune of more than $200 a month. She told me to call Anthem, the insurance provider, and alert them to this before making any changes to the account.
I did, and Anthem told me that they can only bill what Covered CA tells them to – CC is a sort of marketplace giving users the option of various healthcare providers (in theory; in practice, it’s Anthem Blue Cross or nothing), so, yes, they told me to call Covered CA. Again.
So it was another call to my friends at Covered CA, who told me that my account was never inactive, and yes, it did appear that I had been overcharged, but I should get the money back in tax credits (which I find hard to believe, but we’ll see). They enrolled me in a plan which is now about $125 a month, versus the $350 a month I had been paying. Guess what? My check up co pay would have been $3 instead of $45 if I was being billed correctly all along. At least it’s fixed now – assuming that the last person I spoke to there gave me correct information, and that seems like a big “if” after all these calls and the overcharges.
One good thing about all the stress and pressure of impending joblessness and penury is that things like this just don’t seem like that big of a deal anymore. I actually laughed when I hung up the phone. Maybe it was like Lincoln’s “I laugh that I may not weep”, but it was a laugh all the same.
A YEAR AGO: In which malls and flu do not mix.