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Social Media Trumps Big Healthcare

Our insurance battle appears to be over! For those who haven’t been following on Facebook, I started a huge stink on Twitter on the 28 using my primary Twitter account, which has over 1600 very connected followers who have even more of a reach than I do. Several of my followers have over 100K followers, so I knew this could go viral with the right tweets.

It’s sort of funny that it was just Sunday’s newspaper in Tampa that had a story about company-run social media departments and how effective (almost too effective) social media is. Below is how things went down. ^JP denotes my tweets while ^CR denotes Aetna’s tweets. Read and learn.

^JP – @AetnaGlobal Your “customer service” staff are among the lowest form of life. If you’re interested in providing support, touch base w/ me.

^JP – @AetnaGlobal Your “customer service” people have done nothing but block my access to my meds in 2012 – I will wear you down. Calling again!

^JP – @AetnaGlobal Hi, it’s me again. Ready to practice “reform” or are you too busy killing people w/ cystic fibrosis? #cysticfibrosis

^JP – @AetnaGlobal Contact me before I contact them. Our appeal process is almost exhausted. You can stop this (That’s a link to our local news investigative team who really gets results in the area.)

19 minutes later…

^CR – Hi, I’m Chris w/Aetna. Can I help you with any specific questions you may have? ^CR

[Read more…]

Esophageal Manometry: Post-procedure Update

Fatboy NG Tube

That’s the only thing I can say that isn’t exactly “not a nice thing” to say. There’s no way to say how today has gone without sounding like a whiner, so watch for yourself what I endured this morning, and then I’ll explain what the test showed (preliminarily by watching the screen) and how the rest of my day has gone.

Okayyyy? Now I can start my narrative.

We fought horrible traffic all the way in to the center. Since we both work from home, it’s been over a year since we’ve hit rush-hour traffic. We thought we were perturbed enough yesterday coming home at 3:30pm, but that was a far cry from this morning. Good grief, how do you people live like that? /wink Anyhoo, we didn’t have much more than a 15 minute wait before I was called back by a nice lady of about 50 named Betsy.

I advised her of my history of blowing chunks every time I had an NG tube placed. She ensured that I hadn’t had anything to eat or drink since midnight and listened to all of my concerns. I could tell she’d heard these concerns before, but she assured me that she’d been doing this a good many years and that it was pretty unlikely from my history that I would ruin her scrubs.

“We’ll see,” I said.

“Yes, we’ll see,” she said.

[Read more…]

When Things Are Beyond Words

LaptopI’ve given up. Not given up hope, but given up trying to talk to Aetna. The manager we spoke to Wednesday and called back and left a voicemail with Thursday returned my call yesterday afternoon. More than an hour later, I was a wreck of a human being.

I was moments away from speaking to the President – Mark Bertolini – when his screener said “she was supposed to have taken care of this for you,” and transferred me to someone who said the plan I was on showed Pulmozyme as a Tier 2 med on a 3-tier open formulary plan. The system says I’m on a 4-tier plan, so Pulmozyme is a Tier 4 “specialty drug” and I was never able to get that other manager on the phone again because I didn’t get her ID number.

I’ve relinquished my control of the situation. I clearly can’t do anything to help things with my existing plan, so my brain and emotions have turned a corner to new ideas. I have not just sat idly by and let this happen to me; just the opposite – I’ve worked the situation until I was shaking and talking like a crazy person.

Now I have to let the system (the insurance regulators) do its thing pursuing the angle that we were illegally terminated from my old plan and not given options to pick a new one nor given a benefits book for my new plan. What “winning” that case means for me, I have absolutely no clue, so we are planning for the worst (they permanently terminate my plan and any future plans for me) and hoping for the best (I get a free plan for life and automatic approval of any drug for life at a set copay).

I’m almost okay with the worst-case scenario, [Read more…]

Welcome to Aetna Health Insurance Hell

ArguingOn December 17th – a Saturday – I received an e-mail from Aetna Health Insurance (something that always makes this guy with cystic fibrosis nervous) saying that there was a new communication for me. I clicked the link, logged in to find my “communication” was a plain and simple Certificate of Continuous Coverage with an ending date of 12/31/2011. Nice. A CFer with no coverage. Again.

Monday afternoon (because I would swear they were swamped at 9am), I called for an explanation of such a mysterious message.

“Oh, we’re just giving everyone in Florida with your plan a new ID card. Everyone’s getting them.”

Oh, okay. We went on with our day, our month, our year, and even our new year.

Then we got a call from Dr. Tabor‘s office about my visit asking if I had new insurance. “Sure, it’s the same plan, but here’s the number.” I went to that appointment and strangely, for the first office visit of the year, my co-pay at the desk was only $35. Odd! [Read more…]