After reading Gretchen's blog and her perils at Saturn, I had realized that ignoring the problem would not make it go away. I knew it was going to be a problem, but that knowledge did nothing to prepare me to deal with the problem. For the past two weeks, Adam and I have been getting urgent messages and letters from Cingular telling us to change our sim cards. They are updating their system and we must change out our sim cards to continue to have service. They say we can do it ourselves, but we should go into their store and they will do it for us free of charge, no obligation necessary. I don't believe them--not for one minute. But I am a college graduate, surely I can stand up to minimum wage peons who work for Cingular Wireless.
First I am just going to go to the kiosk at the mall, but then I read the fine print and you have to go to a Company owned franchise. Fine. There's one on Brand, but there's no parking spots. So the next day I go to the one in Burbank. There's still no parking, but now I've already driven all the way here, so I have to make due in the large parking structure down the street. I get so turned around in the parking structure that when I come out, I'm practically at the front door of the store, so that worked out anyway.
Adam's phone, they can change the sim card no problem, but my cute little compact so easy to fit anywhere flip phone is too old and it must be replaced. NOOOOOOOO, I scream inside, NOOOOOOOOO. Yes, she says. What's free I say, and I'm shown clunky, ugly, open, blue plastic, piece of junk phone. Well I'm not taking that. Then I'm shown a very nice, (not as nice as mine, but ok) flip phone. It's only $179 with a two year plan, she says. Well I'm certainly not paying $179 and I'm really, really not signing a two year plan with a company that I now despise. Can I buy a one month prepaid phone plan and just switch out the phone (which is what I did to get this little beauty). Yes, it's $59.99 and it's this very ugly fat flip phone. I hate that, but I hate the blue plastic monster more, but that one costs money that goes to company I hate. I end up taking the blue plastic monster. I'll show them--revenge, first dig two graves.
Meanwhile, back at the farm--I need new health insurance. My new one year old plan is going up $90 per month for no apparent reason except that I must be a year older now. So I send away an application on line to Kiaser. There's a place to put any medical problems and I don't have any that are listed, but being an attorney I add at the bottom a little thing that my doctor said I'd just have to live with. Inconvenient, sometimes, health threatening, no. I get a call a few days later and they ask me am I being treated for inconvenient little thing, no. Do I have any other health problems and I say, well my feet hurt and my knees used to hurt, does that count. No answer. A month later, I get a letter that says, I have been rejected for health insurance because I identified health problems that were not on my application. WHAT? I was bent out of shape over that one for a while and I wrote a very nasty letter about sore feet not being a medical condition.
Anyway, I'm in the market for new health insurance, so I call the insurance broker. I tell him, that my medical bill for my routine mamogram is way out of wack with the current insurance company and surely there is a better plan out there for someone who goes to the doctor once a year for a mamogram and nothing else. He tells me to look at the explaination of benefits and that it shouldn't be out of wack.
It turns out that the $2,000 bill I got from the hospital, of which I had to pay $500 was only approved for $1,200 and the insurance company paid their part of $700 and the hospital ate the rest. Then I got a bill for 500 something from the "Lab" and the insurance company paid 100 something and my portion was 92 (some deductible thingie). The "lab" ate the rest. Finally I got a bill from the Radiogy Medical Group (who knows what they do) for 345. The insurance company approved 165 and paid 115--telling me that my portion was $50. But Radiology billed me for 230. So I make a few phone calls. Radiology Group tells me that they do not have a contract with my insurance company and so they refuse to accept my insurance company's dissallowance of their full fee. Mind you, there is a big write off, right on their bill where they did accept the write off for my different medical insurer last year. So I call my doctor--how could you send me to a Radiology group that's not covered in full by my insurance. Not me, she says, I don't do nothing with nothing--I just wrote you a prescription. So I call the hospital--how could you send my results to a Radiology group that's not covered in full by my insurance. Then say, we have a contract, that's the only Radiology group we can send anything to--it's not our fault you have bad insurance. So I call someone higher up at the Hospital--when I hand you my insurance card and you say, yes, you'll accept my insurance there's an implied contract that you will only use sub-contractors who will also accept my insurance. They are looking into it. It's a good think I'm a lawyer.