Mission status at the beginning of this episode: I hold an approved application for the replacement policy, but my credit card has not been charged. The approval email, received from the company on March 21, specifically stated that I should not cancel existing plans until I have received and reviewed the membership materials for the new one. Previous efforts to get answers by phone were not successful, leaving me not knowing whether I now have two policies in effect, just one, or none, or whether I can now see my existing doctors, must obtain new doctors, or cannot see any doctors. This is a concern because the time is approaching for exams following up my recent surgeries.
In our last episode: On March 31, the last day of open enrollment, I invested four hours on the phone (95% of which was spent on hold) and spoke with 4 different employees before I finally gave up for the day.
That said, even by those standards, the latest rounds of mirth and merriment score well above average on the You’ve-Gotta-Be-Kidding-Me-O-Meter.
Yes, you read it right. After telling me, in writing, not to cancel the old policy, the company had then shelved my application until such time as I did so.
At this point, I think even the late Rod Serling would had rejected this story synopsis as being too bizarre for belief. But at any rate, the woman on the phone (who was, let the record reflect, a consummate professional and a great advocate for me on this day) told me that the word from the enrollment department was that I needed to contact the government-run Exchange by phone and cancel my existing Exchange policy. She said that, according to the enrollment people, this would result in a cancellation number. She was very specific in saying I should write down that number. Once I cancelled, she said, the government would notify the company, at which point the replacement policy would become active and I would get my new membership materials. She said she expected this to take about a week to play out.
I thanked her, and then politely gave her some summary comments about my recent customer experiences—both good and bad—which she promised to relay up the chain of command.
12:55 pm. After taking a break for lunch, I hit the phones again and called the government number she'd given me. After about 35 minutes on hold, a gentleman politely guided me through the cancellation process (as it turns out, I could have done this on line). By the end of the call, I'd succeeded in terminating my Exchange plan, as of the earliest available effective date, April18. However, I did not get the requested cancellation number. When I asked for it, the man patiently explained that the termination procedure generates no such number.
I swear to you, shortly after hearing this, I found that I had assumed the exact hands-to-face pose as the tortured figure in Edvard Munch's famous painting, "The Scream. " But at this point, there was nothing to do but wait. However, on the strength of the assurances I’d just received, I went ahead and booked my next round of medical exams.
You can find the entire series of blog posts on my medical journey on this page: My Medical Travails: Adventures in the Toilet Zone. And of course, I invite you to check out my author's page, where you can learn about my novels, see critic and reader reviews, download sample chapters, and find purchase links: www.forrestcarr.com.
© 2014 by Forrest Carr. All rights reserved.