Friday, April 20, 2007

I don't have other insurance

Mr. John E. Brown, Jr.
Vice President
Louisville Commercial Operations
P. O. Box 14601
Lexington, KY 40512

Dear Mr. Brown,

I am in receipt of your letter and accompanying two-page form requesting information about my "other insurance coverage." It is so considerate of you to, as you state, "update my records to make sure my claims are processed accurately and timely."

Funny thing: the same day I got your friendly letter with homework attached, I got a call from my doctor saying you've refused to pay a claim until I complete my homework assignment. What a coincidence!

I appreciate your concern about my records being up to date, but nothing's changed about my "other insurance" since six months ago when you requested the same information: I don't have "other insurance." Just like I didn't when I signed up with Humana 12 months ago. And just like I won't six months from now when you hold up a claim while you ask me again, in order to "make sure my claims are processed accurately and timely."

Besides, what's it to you if I have other insurance anyway? Have I not faithfully paid each and every premium? Do you not therefore owe the money? What are we, in a monogamous relationship? You should know that jealousy is very unattractive. I hate to break it to you, but your clinginess is making that Aflac duck look hotter and hotter.

Mr. Brown, I think we both know what's going on here. Insurance companies, riding high on the shoulders of capitalism, routinely deny claims for some bogus reason, knowing that A) some percentage of customers will never follow up, which means your company pockets the cash; and B) the rest of us who do follow up will do so only after several days or weeks have passed, during which time you will earn capital on our money. Pretty sweet for you, huh? There are probably other fiscal advantages I don't even know about, some of which might even have been thought up by you. After all, you're a vice president! You probably have all kinds of tricks up your monogrammed sleeves, which no doubt end in cufflinks I paid for! Kudos to you, sir. Can you sleep at night? If so, double kudos! But not if you rely on Ambien. Unless Humana pays for it, in which case triple kudos!

But here's the bummer for you. I don't really want to fill out the two-page form asking about other insurance I don't have. That form has about 40 questions! Some of them are about Medicare, which I won't have for quite some time, god willin' and the crick don't rise. I'm in the pink of health, if you want to know the truth. But you already know that because you almost never have to pay a penny back out of the thousands and thousands of dollars I pay you every year. Thousands and thousands. And when I do go for an annual physical, what happens? Claim denied! Oh-oh.

That makes me sad.

Guess who else is pissed at you. My doctor's office. They had to stop and call me and ask me to call you, but I don't have time to call you because I'm already busy with the homework form you sent me. My doctor and doctors all over the country have to hire employees just to deal with your shenanigans. And guess who else doesn't have the time. My HR department. (I knew they'd want to know.) So here's the chain of pain, Mr. Brown: You reject a claim. The doctor's office bothers me. I bother HR. They bother you. You agree there was no cause to deny the claim. You notify HR. They notify me. I notify my doctor. That, sir, is what you call a good old, American cluster you-know-what. And it's one big reason insurance costs thousands and thousands of dollars in the first place.

Dang, aren't you proud?

Of course, unlucky for you, your greed is also why universal health care is eventually going to put you out on the street. Bummer.

Here's another funny thing. I don't really have time to fill out your paperwork but I did find time to write you this letter, which I sincerely hope has brought you as much annoyance as your two-page homework form brought me. This is probably a pipedream, but I hope that you have some sort of grievance procedure there at Humana and that this letter will have to be routed around to several Humana stooges, suits, and assorted thieves, and perhaps be entered into some database, wasting precious robber-baron moments, so that you can feel the way I felt receiving your letter. Maybe then you'll see what your life's work has become.

But oops, guess what! The joke's on me. You've got all the "hand" here. This being America and you being the giant, conscienceless corporation that you are, whatever I do, I'm screwed. If I actually place your form where it belongs -- say, in a dumpster full of old chicken parts rotting in the sun -- you'll get your wish: You won't have to pay my claim. And we can't have that. So you know what, Mr. Brown? You win. Like you always do. Enclosed, please find my form, explaining in excruciating detail that, in fact, I do not have "other insurance."

You've won this round, Mr. Brown. Talk to you in six months. Unless millions and millions of Americans get their wish and universal health care has put you out on the street by then!

Pleasant dreams,

Jim Welp

PS: Please look forward to my upcoming two-page form certifying that you are my one and only. I'll need you to fill it out and return it before I can pay you any more premiums.

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