If there’s one thing that makes me resentful as hell, it’s the amount of time I have to spend sorting out other people’s incompetence. The moment I realize that someone has fucked up, and I’m going to have to spend an unreasonable amount of time (defined as “more than one minute”) trying to untangle whatever they did wrong, or neglected to do altogether, that now is going to make my life unnecessarily difficult, my blood pressure rises and I go from zero to seething in no time. The common refrain on this subject around my house is, “Can’t ANYBODY do their job?” Evidently, the answer is no.
Like many Americans, I spent a lot of time since October 1st trying to get insurance through the Affordable Care Act, and ran into all the website problems that everyone else did. It was frustrating, but I was persistent, because a) I did tech QA for 10 years, and I know all about bugs, and the difference between a bad website and a bad idea, and b) while I currently have insurance through Scott’s policy at work (the same one that covered me for those 10 years), early indicators showed that we might be able to save real money on premiums if I did. And with me not working, saving money is always a good idea around here.
I was finally successful and enrolled in a different Blue Cross Blue Shield Policy, at a $250-a-month savings. Jubilation! I thought I was done, but hadn’t received my new insurance cards, nor a bill for the premiums, and then I got a phone call from my dad this morning saying I’d better call BCBS and make sure they actually GOT my enrollment, because a lot of people also thought they were done, only to find that the glitches continue. I’ll be on the phone tomorrow to make sure they’ve got me, before I get off Scott’s insurance. Because there’s nothing I enjoy more than spending 45 minutes-plus on the phone to an insurance company. That’s always a good time.
Much like eating glass.
Then, because I hadn’t had nearly enough fun picking up the slack for the federal government and Big Insurance, I spent this evening tearing apart my house (seriously, the file cabinet got a folder-to-folder search no less than 3 times), looking for a file folder I painstakingly put together in 2011. Why would I be looking for such an ancient document? You might well ask. I was looking for it, because, out of the blue Tuesday, right before Christmas (gee, thanks), I received a letter from a collections agency claiming that I owed over $4,000 to Tucson Pain Physicians. After I picked myself up from the floor, I tried to figure out who the hell that was, because I’d never gone to any such medical group. But the address on the dunning letter matched the one I vaguely remembered for the home office of Arizona Pain Centers, whither I’d gone for treatment in September-October of 2011. They’re the ones that I stopped going to because it didn’t help, and because on what became my last treatment there, they were so sloppy and unprofessional (you would not believe the things they said in the OR during my procedure), they did this to me, and I’m pretty sure they missed their target entirely, because I got zero relief that round, unlike the previous ones. I never went back.
The agreement was that they would take whatever my insurance company paid me as payment in full; all I had to do was turn over the checks BCBS sent me, which I did, every single time. But before I did, because I’m a believer in CYA, I made copies and attached them to the Explanation of Benefits and bills, and created this whole big file, which of course I cannot find now. It’s entirely possible I tossed it, because who in the world would imagine that someone who has NEVER BILLED ME ONCE in the intervening 2 years would send a $4K bill to collections so long after treatement? Not I. So the very pieces of paper would that get me out of this mess most quickly are MIA, and I am pissed about the whole debacle. I shouldn’t even need to be looking for them, and am feeling criminally shaken down. I have to contact the Pain Center and ask for a complete copy of my entire file, and hope what I need is there. And I have written up a letter to the collections agency to dispute the debt. Now all I can do is wonder how long this bullshit is going to dog me, because I’m not paying that bill, as it is also the bullshit.
The source of my resentment is that I don’t find it difficult to go through life without fucking up constantly or trying to screw people over. I don’t try to squeeze people for as much as I can get out of them, whether I’m entitled to it or not. I suffer from the curse of competence; if I say I’m going to do something, chances are 99.999% that I’m going to not only get it done, but done well. This is how I operate, and when I’m dealing with lesser (much lesser, or much less ethical) mortals who want to waste my time because they’re either being stupid at me, or scamming me, I want to scream, because, really? Is it really that hard to do what it is you’ve chosen as your profession? When I worked in a bakery in high school, I was a good bakery clerk. When I was grocery checker, I checked the hell out of those groceries. 30 items a minute, baybeee, and I never smooshed anyone’s bread or broke their eggs. When I taught school, I was a good teacher. And now I’m a helluva a housewife. I don’t even begin to understand half-assing your way through life. But evidently it’s the life strategy of choice for many individuals and institutions. And it makes me feel all HULK SMASH!
So instead of spending a creative evening working on songwriting, as I’d planned, I’m ransacking my house and doing research so I can stay insured without breaking the bank, and so I can fight a huge (and invalid) debt that I can’t afford, financially or on principle. But at least I got this blog post done. And now, I’m going to self-medicate with leftover Christmas cake and eggnog ice cream, because until I talk to BCBS tomorrow, and get this other bill nullified, it’s the only medication I can afford. At least until Christmas 2015, when Betty Crocker sends me a bill for 4 grand. Then it’s all over.