Oh, sure. I know everybody hates his medical insurance company. But I like to think I hate mine — or my father’s, to be more precise — more than you hate yours.
I’m staring at a great big envelope we just got back from Daddy’s drug insurance company. I am seething with resentment and the beginnings of what may be a migraine. Inside, the form letter assures me how very much the company wants to serve us. It just needs more information.
I first submitted a claim about three months ago. It was returned about a month later. More information needed! Did he really have Alzheimer’s, ha, ha?
I brooded, I complained, I eventually resubmitted with more information (doctor, precise prescription, diagnosis, astrological sign, favorite color, whatever else they wanted). Another month passed. I finally got back my original claim, which had gone to the insurance company’s “old” address and hadn’t been forwarded to its new one. Finally, by Pony Express, it had come back here.
I kind of went ballistic at that point, even though I’m not the kind of person who goes ballistic. I’m more of a brooder. I gnashed my teeth and swore and glared. As those things go, you can imagine how much good it did. In the meantime, my father’s bank account balance was plummeting and he/we could use the money.
Then this most recent outrage. What do they want now? I don’t know, because I’m so infuriated I can’t read their letter.
I believe this is the same insurance company that still lists my mother as a dependent, even though she’s been dead since 1997. Every time I saw her name, I got upset. I called the company and spent three days on hold. I wrote them and heard nothing back. Her name is still on the policy.
I’m really not a conspiracy theorist. I’m so trusting, I still believe in the Lee Harvey Oswald lone-gunman theory. Life is random, things fall apart, the center exploded all over the place.
But, dealing with insurance companies over the years, I’ve become a conspiracy theorist in a small, dark, primitive part of my brain, where dinosaurs roam and buzzards gather and low fires simmer.
“They” are trying to keep the money my father worked for for decades. “They” are in cahoots with evil forces. “They” are trying to drive me crazy, trying to wear me down, trying to get me to walk away. That’s how “they” thrive — by driving us nuts, beating us down, making us salvage our sanity by trying to forget them and what they owe us.
I can’t read their letter yet. But I will, when I stop seething. When I come to what is euphemistically known as my “senses.” I will give them what they want, those lousy, scheming, cheapskate, malicious, low-life scum of the earth.
Oh, excuse me. I guess I really need to get control of myself. What I really meant to say was, Aren’t we lucky? After all, we have medical insurance. Imagine what life is like for people who don’t.
(Copyright 2009 by Ruth Pennebaker)