Saturday, October 4, 2014

An Homage to Roseanne Roseannadanna

I have many copies of the above document, sent to me by either Healthnet, our private insurance company or Medi-Cal, our secondary insurance company. The other day, I think I mentioned that I got fourteen separate denials for the various components of Sophie's ordered wheelchair, each component getting its own denial which was two pages and then a third page letting me know that whatever information was in the first two was available in any one of the above languages.

Foot Pedal -- denied
Back Pad -- denied
Head Rest -- denied
Seat -- denied

And so on. Fourteen components.

Each three-page document had its very own envelope and stamp, of course, was pushed through the slot on my porch door by our mailman and lay scattered at my feet when I pushed the door open. As you can see, if I have difficulty reading the English language, the law of the land provides for me in Spanish, Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean, Tagalog, Armenian, Russian, Japanese, Farsi, Punjabi, Khmer, Arabic, Hmong and Laotian. I have no problem with the diversity of languages offered and actually believe it's one of the best and most extraordinary things about living in these United States and particularly Los Angeles which is arguably one of the most diverse cities in the world. I am decidedly not one of those people that freaks out over people not learning English well, something that seems to unsettle a certain type person no matter their political persuasion. I'm not naming names, but they're related to me in blood and marriage.  What I do object to is the use of paper and the cost of paper and the aggravating and stubborn inability of private and public behemoths to figure out a way to provide our explanation of benefits and denials and exciting news of  premium increases in our language of choice to begin with as opposed to every single damn time they send something. If I were a therapist, I might offer myself a gentle hand and nod and think this is clearly not about the excessive amounts of paper but perhaps more about the early trauma exacted on this woman so many years ago. But I'm not a therapist. I'm a writer and a mother and a human being exquisitely sensitive to the absurd. You know what? I got a notice yesterday from The Insurance Company, denying the amount charged for Henry's well child check-up and vaccine (yes, I know, he got his first vaccine and I don't think you heard a peep from me!) on the basis that there was not a proper diagnostic code on it. When I called and pointed out that there is indeed a diagnostic code for well child/preventive care, the Bartleby argued for a minute or so, I produced the copied document and pointed it out, and he said, why you're right, our mistake, and while I sighed, I also thought about my old friend at L'Espinasse, the uber-fancy restaurant where I started my culinary career in my other life, how he'd send someone into the walk-in for something that they inevitably couldn't find, so he'd exasperatedly go in there and pluck the item right from the shelf and yell in his Cajun voice, WHAT'S THIS? A PORK CHOP? I really wish I'd yelled that at the insurance company guy when he argued for a bit with me and then realized his mistake. Instead, I stripped naked, grabbed the bottle of vodka from the freezer and ran around the neighborhood to calm down. I still have to hunt down our neurologist to get her to provide yet another piece of paper attesting to Sophie's need for an EEG so that the insurance company can cover at least a bit more than it will right now. And if I told you that I push SEND for our gigantic ass premium even five minutes past the due date, I swear there's an envelope in the mail the next day stating my rights should I not honor the grace period offered to me, how my insurance will be cancelled and thanks for doing business with us -- followed by the notice in all the different languages known to Angelenos in the tenth month of the fourteenth year of the third millenium on Planet Earth.

As Roseanne Roseannadanna said, It just goes to show you, it's always something -- if it a'int one thing, it's another. Or better yet, I thought I was going to die!


  1. I'd laugh but that is simply not possible. I will raise an icy shot to you and strip off my clothes and run around Lloyd. How's that?
    (Oh honey. How DO you do it?)

  2. "...push SEND for our gigantic ass premium even five minutes past the due date, I swear there's an envelope in the mail the next day..."
    that's just so hilariously true! rosanne would say something like that, but the topic would've been gigantic gas premiums...never mind haha

    This is a wonderful blog, really great writing, thanks for so many inspired reading experiences, only the best can do it all and this too, i really admire that. thanks!

  3. Oh, the absurdity. I mean, would they ever approve one component and NOT another? The headrest but not the seat?

    I love your sense of the absurd and the exasperated humor with which you approach stuff like this. As a work colleague of mine always used to say -- and I've probably quoted her here before -- "you got to laugh to keep from cryin'."

  4. Could you possibly post a picture (line drawing will do) of what the wheelchair will look like as approved?
    Right after your naked drunken run around the neighborhood, of course.


  5. I'm going to be laughing about the pork chop for days.

  6. I have an insurance biller for my midwifery practice because billing those fuckers is a NIGHTMARE. My insurance biller works full time for several of my colleagues too.

    Our medical system is a mess and the insurance 'industry" is run by criminals.

    Don't get me started.


    PS I once got paid for a birth I did when the child was 3 YEARS OLD. And we midwives charge a fraction of what docs charge.

  7. Dealing with the "industrial insurance prison complex" (as I've just coined it) is its own kind of insanity, worthy of an entry in the DSM.

    Holy oy vey moley feckin' WTF.



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