Health Insurance is a Butt

There.  I said it.

I appreciate coverage, especially with the number of practitioners I see, but switching from one plan to another is such a tangle of bureaucratic nonsense that I am literally crying in frustration now.

The saga began on August 6th, when I called MassHealth to find out when I could enroll in a new policy, as my current private insurance expired on August 31st.  The lady I spoke to (and I have a confirmation number for that conversation) said that on 8/31 (the last day of coverage) I need to call the third party liability line to have them remove that insurance from my record.  Then I should call MassHealth right afterward to enroll in a new plan; it would then be another 10-14 days before I got a new insurance card in the mail, but I could call the number for the insurance plan (which she gave me) to get my new card number.

Easy, right?

Fast forward to yesterday around 5:30 pm, when the receptionist at my chiropractor’s office checked his records to see when my Blue Cross / Blue Shield policy actually expires, and his papers say it expires on August 14th, four days earlier.  If that is in fact the case, then I apparently will owe the chiropractor’s office an additional $80 to cover yesterday’s visit.

So earlier today I started trying to navigate this maze of regulations.

First I called Blue Cross to verify the date that my policy ends.  The person I spoke to was confused a bit because she hadn’t received anything from Gallagher Koster,the company that interfaces between the insurance companies and the colleges & universities.  She put me on hold to contact Gallagher (for a good 15 min, b/c the phones for Gallagher were busy), and when she got the information she told me that my policy would be canceled retroactive to August 14th.

Then I called the third party liability line, so they could take Blue Cross off my record (or whatever it is they do to show that I don’t have current coverage).  The guy I spoke to said that it’s still showing Blue Cross as active, so he couldn’t do anything.

So I called Blue Cross back, to ask what kind of turnaround time there is on canceling my policy.  The woman I spoke to transferred me to Gallagher Koster, where I was waiting to talk to someone for at least 20 minutes.  The woman I spoke to there looked up some stuff when I told her that I’d withdrawn from school in May, and sent an email to Blue Cross saying that they can end my policy.  She took my phone number, saying she’d call me back when she got the confirmation email from Blue Cross.

And she did.  She called me back saying that my plan was ended and I could enroll in MassHealth now.

I called the third party liability line about half an hour later, to ask that they take Blue Cross off my record.  The guy I spoke to this time said that Blue Cross was still active, and I needed to forward them a confirmation letter that I would get from Blue Cross and/or Gallagher Koster saying that my coverage had ended.

Then I called Gallagher Koster back, and somehow managed to get the same lady I spoke to the first time!  She sent me an email, including the message from the Blue Cross representative she contacted, confirming that my coverage ended on 8/14.  (Turns out, her name is Priscilla, she’s quite nice.)

Right before 5 pm, I called the third party liability line, after forwarding them the email I received.  The lady I spoke to there retrieved the email, and sorted everything out.  According to her, I can now call MassHealth (in the morning, b/c it’s after 5 pm now) and enroll in a new plan.

This is not the kind of adventure I was hoping to have this summer.

Stay tuned for further developments.

So I got things settled such that as of Sept. 1 I’ll have BMC HealthNet, and until then I’m covered under MassHealth CarePlus.  I’m not entirely sure what that is, but I apparently don’t have to reschedule any of my appointments.  The downside is that I still owe my chiropractor for my last visit.


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