We’ve all gotten sick and some of us have even, begrudgingly, admitted we need professional guidance and sought the advice of a family doctor. Me? I hardly ever get sick. Only in the most desperate of situations will I actively seek out medical attention, crawling into the office with festering wounds; wheezing and gasping for breath; while pleading to skip the obligatory weigh-in (which I don’t really understand anyway. Why the hell do I have to step on a freaking scale for hives, a cold, an ingrown toenail…you get the idea?). For this reason Cigna loves me. I mean who wouldn’t love someone who pays you, gobs of cash, for doing absolutely nothing? Each month I contribute $246.22 to our healthcare system through a paycheck deduction, which amounts to $2,954.64 annually. That’s not so bad, right? But what I was really doing was paying membership dues.
It’s sort of like a gym membership; you pay the monthly fee because very soon, any day now in fact, you are going to start going. No really. I mean it this time. Seriously. Even though I haven’t patronized the facility (exercising, visiting the juice bar, perspiring in the sauna…) for the past eight months, I’m paying for the comfort of knowing is there should I need it. Or want it. Which I don’t right now. But I will. Soon. Really. The peace of mind was comforting, easy even.
Now I know better. Silly me. I didn’t read the fine print at the bottom of the gym membership agreement where it stated that there was also a processing , filing, taxes, tags and delivery fee. And just like that, Cigna’s account manager explained that the monthly dues, required to maintain this investment, does not include an annual $5000.00 deductible and then another 20% out of pocket expense up $10,000. My total membership contract is not the $2,954.64 to which I’ve accepted with resigned complacency, but rather: $5,000 (deductible) + 2,000 (20% addition) + $2954.64 (yearly contribution)…. Bringing the annual total to (please just sign here…here… here… and a drop of blood here… and we’re good to go!): $9,954.64.
It all sounds pretty clear-cut, right? After about an hour on the phone with Cigna’s ‘billing specialist’, these are the exact words that came out of my mouth: “I have a bachelor’s degree, two master’s degrees and a PhD but I cannot, for the life of me, understand anything you are saying because I think you are making it up as you go along.” I would love to provide examples of the invoicing and accounting confusion, except that at the conclusion of our conversation I can only tell you the following with certainty:
- I did not use any swear words, which many of you know, showed remarkable restraint
- I wrote down the figures, punched them into the calculator, and came up with a different total each time.
- I still have no idea Who’s on first, What’s on second, and Why is in left field