“fine print?” More like “horrible print.”

In the past six months, I’ve been able to experience the full reach of my health insurance benefits. I decided, rather than going to regular doctor’s appointments throughout the course of the year, I should just get hit by a truck and break my leg and blast my way through those deductibles all at once.

But whatever. This is not a rant against the insurance industry. Well, it kind of is. But it’s not a rant against the particular insurance plan my workplace affords me. In fact, I was pleasantly surprised by the reach of my coverage.

Instead, it’s a rant against paper. Not even paperwork (though filling out endless medical history forms at multiple medical offices is not my preferred method of rest and recreation. Side note: Sure, they give us a clipboard, but why not a table? Or why not let us stand at the counter? By the time I’ve filled up 8 pages front-and-back with my detailed medical history, I need an additional appointment with someone to discuss the awful burning pain in my neck from looking down at such an awkward angle).

Heh. So that did turn into a little rant about paperwork, eh? Ahem. Moving on:

Initially, almost all of my “explanation of benefits” came via email. This is great. Everything seemed pretty straightforward and well-explained. Again, I was pleasantly surprised at the ease of which I could navigate the provider’s website.

But then, about three months post-dx I started receiving envelopes in the mail. One, two, twelve, six hundred. Most of them were pretty clearly labelled THIS IS NOT A BILL. Okay, fine. These were basically detailed print-outs of what I’d already reviewed on the website. Wasteful, but recyclable.

Scattered throughout Big Bill Mountain were thinner envelopes with phrases like AMOUNT DUE and PROVIDER OWED. But due what? Owed to whom? I swore to the almighty chocolate-covered-peanut-butter Christ that I’d already paid for this shit! I went through my checking accounts to see if checks cleared. I took a fine-toothed (tooth?) comb to my credit card statement to compare dates of services rendered and charges made. I got toddler-angry; no amount of reasoning or logic could calm my rage. No phone numbers to call, no return envelopes in which to mail my check – no that that mattered, because I didn’t even have a fucking MAKE CHECK PAYABLE TO.

So I did the mature thing and scooped up these envelopes – the ones that made me feel stupid and confused – and put them in a pile to be dealt with At A Later Time.

When that Later Time eventually arrived, I took a deep breath, thought Cleansing and Happy Thoughts, and carefully read through the pile, where, 100% of the time, I found a tiny hidden phrase: PLEASE WAIT FOR A PROVIDER BILL BEFORE MAKING A PAYMENT.

“Why the hell didn’t you see this the first time around?” you’re asking me. To which I respond: MAMA SAID KNOCK YOU OUT. I mean, EASIER SAID THAN DONE, OL’ PALLY-PAL. In fact, I had to take a couple minutes to re-read through these letters to find that phrase again just so that I could quote it for this rant. Don’t TELL me I don’t suffer for my art.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I must make an appointment with someone to discuss my transient, intense rage issues.




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