Your Call Is Important …Just Not To Us
This has been one of those weeks, when every aggravating thing that could happen happened. I attempted to file my taxes and discovered I have to pay Uncle Sam $858. I burned my forearm taking baked haddock out of the oven, proving once and for all two theories I’ve long held: that eating healthy and using kitchen appliances are both hazardous undertakings. I tried to pick up a prescription for medication I’ve been taking since I was 12 years old – for Chrissakes, Nixon was beginning his first term! – and I was told it’s no longer covered under my insurance. What’s that you say, Mr. Walgreen? Not covered? THYROID medication? Wait. Neither are my generic acid reflux meds? The ones I take for the heartburn caused by injustices such as owing the IRS 800 clams?
I’m one of those lucky sonofaguns forced by the city into signing up for the less-than-awesome health insurance it foisted upon its employees. In a word? It stinks. It costs a bundle, the coverage rots, and surprises like this one aren’t anything new. It’s known as Advantage Worcester/ Fallon Community Health Plan – or is it Reliant? (The insurance plan formally known as Prince? I joke to keep from weeping. These HMOs have more umbrellas than a golf course in a rain storm.) I had to snake my way through four phone numbers before I got CVS/Caremark on the phone. I listened to terrible harpsichord music and sour Spanish guitar solos and finally spoke with Brandon who didn’t know why I can’t get my prescriptions filled. However, I was given a 1-800 number I can call, but not tonight because they close at 5:00 PM. Brandon said he’d be right back with suggested alternatives to my prescriptions, but after 28 minutes of that guitar, my phone battery died. Alternatives? Like what? Baking soda? Voodoo?
You know damned well I slip the prefix “DIS” in front of “Advantage” every chance I get. Just as I never miss the opportunity to refer to that branch of City Hall that handles benefits as “INhuman Resources.” I’d tell them that I refer to their department this way, but they never answer the phone. Ever. It just rings and rings and rings…
I’m guessing my thyroid meds, which were covered in January but not in March, are the victims of over-diagnosis. Too many people must be suffering from hypo or hyperthyroidism, leading the pharmaceutical companies to suspect that they can make more dough if they charge us full price. Do they toss cash in the direction of the insurance companies refusing to cover? That would be criminal, and I’m sure no insurance company would every do such a thing,because their only concern is the welfare of their members.Forgive me for suggesting it. What was I thinking? I must be goofy from the pain I’m suffering without the acid refux meds I should be taking – the ones that will now cost me $54 every month.This crappy insurance was rammed down our collective throats faster than you can say “colonoscopy” three times while having one.We had about 10 minutes to decide what we wanted when we were literally herded into the sign-up like aging palaminos headed to the glue factory, supposedly to meet a deadline or GOD HELP US! go without coverage.
DISadvantage Worcester/FCHP aka Reliant? I don’t know anymore, but one day, when I went to pick up my medicine at the Plantation St. location, the CVS/Caremark pharmacy was boarded up and apparently left town faster than a bandit with a sheriff’s posse in hot pursuit. All I know is, DISadvantage drains my wallet every two weeks and provides me with a whole lotta nuthin’ in return. The City obviously stuck us with this cut-rate mess to save a few bucks. Can you say : “Open Enrollment?” I know I’ll be saying it; I’d say it now, but I’m still on hold.
I don’t mean to exclusively pick on the healthcare industry. I also despise Verizon and Charter – snake oil salesmen without the charm – which is why I’m going to get me a tin can and string and use it to call and cancel HBO and Showtime just as soon as my contract is up with both of them, because I can only watch “Braveheart” so many times before I change the channel and watch “SNAPPED!” – which could be an unfortunate situation for all concerned.
And don’t get me started about the 858 bucks I’m supposed to cough up for the IRS…