I wrote an imaginary letter yesterday.
It didn't have a salutation. I don't concern myself with that in my imaginary letters. My letter said, "I received a letter in the mail from you about a claim. You claim I submitted it and you want me to prove that I'm not eligible for Medicare to cover my claim. So you've sent me a questionnaire to complete to prove I am or am not receiving Medicare and whether I'm married and whether my spouse is receiving Medicare.
Since you've provided my health insurance through my employer since 2008, this is information you should already have on file. Please complete the attached questionnaire to prove that you're my health insurance provider. Once I receive your completed questionnaire, I'll complete your questionnaire."
I'm often writing imaginary letters to companies. They're usually pithy, a paragraph that explains, "Your service sucks." Software and computer companies are frequent recipients. So are airlines. Microsoft gets many of them around the time of month when they're updating their software. Those software updates have the same effect on my computer that setting our clocks ahead for DST has on me. Imagine, then, setting the clock ahead every month and coping with it. It'd be madness, I tell you, madness, but that's what happens with computers and their updates.
The letter from my health insurance company was particularly galling because of its bureaucratic arrogance. They cited a claim and made the demands for me to prove that I'm not eligible for Medicare. They further told me that I needed to reply quickly because the law required them to make timely decisions. If I didn't respond within 45 days, my claim will be denied.
See, the first thing that pissed me off was that the date of the claim was January 11th.
The date of the letter sent to me was February 25th.
The date I received it was March 16th.
When exactly did that 45 day window begin?
Of course, this is a piece of paper in the mail. Not like letters in the mail ever get lost or displaced but academically, is my lack of response to their letter that they can't prove that I received a sufficient basis for them to deny my claim?
The letter smacks of bureacratic bullshit in so many ways. But perhaps worse of all is the bottom line: I have not made any claims.
So either they've fouled up their records and confused me with someone else or someone is trying to use my health insurance to pay for their medical care
This is UnitedHealthcare I'm writing about. They've been successufully sued for pisspoor customer service in Oregon so I'm betting that they've screwed it up.
The letter told me to call the toll free number on my insurance card. I thought that helpful, to tell me to go to another source instead of including it on the letter. They were either trying to make it hard for me to call them or they were attempting to save ink. I mean, come on, why not put the damn number right there in your demand for information?
After calling, I went through this thing with a computer to establish who I was. It had a hard time with my birthday. I told it three different ways. It confirmed it each time and went off to search the records. Then it came back again and asked, "What's your birthday?"
It was the most vapid computer I've ever encountered.
The computer couldn't confirm who I was. It informed me in its cheerful female voice that it needed to transfer me to a service representative. Then the computer came back on and told me that the service representatives were closed. You think the computer would have already known that.
The experience made me want to leave an angry voice mail. I imagine leaving a lot of angry voice mails. Most of them are me saying sweetly, "Your service sucks."
But the system didn't give me the chance. "You lose," the computer said. "Thanks for playing. Please try again."
Really the computer said, "Thank you, good bye," but it's the same thing.
Causes Michael Seidel Supports
Kiva, Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, Propublica.org, Doctors Without Borders, GreaterGood.com