Hey you! Do you get stressed thinking about insurance? If you do, you're not alone. Insurance is stressful. Two of the most stressful things in life are (1) finances and (2) medical. So, unlike the "cruel cruel people" in your life who may tell you to "suck it up" and "just do it", let's talk about strategies to help alleviate the anxieties associated with dealing with insurance.
Let's start at the top with "making that phone call". Sometimes you have to call your insurance companies because the doctors lazy/stressed/should-not-be-doctors (and various other reasons too). I've been kicked out of a psychiatrists's office (after the appointment with a "friendly" email), so yes I'm a little bitter. Nonetheless, life is not perfect enough for you not to have to be a middle person in the doctor-insurance relationship. Here's some tips for navigating the phone calls.
Keep a contact book (on your phone, computer, paper, etc) with the name and phone number of your doctor and your insurance company.
Call each of them and ask what's the best way to contact them in the future. Some doctors are finally opting into the scary-modern "email" (that seems to be too advanced for a lot of America's medical system).
Write down their preferred means of contact and any other information from the call experience (for example, the digits you have to press to finally reach a human receptionist). You can add this information to the "comments" or "notes" section of each contact card
Make a call routine that works with both of their schedules. For example, maybe the only time to call the doctor is at lunch when you're at work (like it is for me). I practice eating a smaller lunch and focusing on eating so that I finish with at least 10 minutes to spare for doctor calls.
Practice making a doctor phone call when you don't have to. Pretend that it's an emergency and go through the process. This is one of the best ways to alleviate the anxieties of future contact with them.
Make a backup plan routine. For example, maybe save up your vacation time for making medical calls in a more leisurely way, or cover someone's shift for a future favor. Life is (sadly) not easy, but backup plans allow us to fight back when things don't go as planned.
Last but not least, it's time for you to do what you were meant to do: be courageous, and contact your insurance company.
Be sure you have a notepad / voice recorder near you to keep record if you're on the phone (medical professionals seem to love to say they "didn't say something" even when they did)
Be ready to make a follow up call as needed
Keep fighting for your right to knowledge! Even if the doctor/insurance company put you on hold and defer you over and over again, think creatively and keep trying. I believe in you!
*And remember: the person on the phone / email / etc are people too, with real lives and real struggles (they could be struggling with insurance themselves!). It's the company, not the individual, that you should frustrated with.
And please, never express anger when communicating with another person, it will only scare them and typically leave you in a worser situation than you started out with!
A Little Backstory:
Earlier this year, I was dealing with a frustrating medical billing issues regarding a foot doctor's visit. They initially charged me $55, but now they're trying to charge over $300, claiming I haven't paid. I have evidence to support my case and have taken time off work to resolve it. I try not to stress about feeling betrayed by others, although it saddens me when it happens. The truth is I've lost faith in the medical system since Covid19 hit. I've had a lot of unprofessional experiences between 2020 and 2023 that have sadly tainted my lens. However, these experiences have shaped my unique perspective on saving money and planning for emergencies. At the end of the day, you are in control of our health, not any doctor or insurance company.
After being on hold for 30 minutes, just to be put on hold again, and again... I eventually got in contact with the finance department which basically said they "probably" made a mistake and for me to check in next month if I get a bill in the mail. Aka: they were no help at all.
Months later, I got another bill and I decided to call my insurance company instead of the foot doctor. I also took off from work because I was beyond anxious. After talking with them we resolved the issue and I was told the correct remaining copay and paid it immediately.
Thankfully, because I had a plan, and a backup plan, plus took notes and kept records, I was able to resolve the problem. So I hope the tips and tricks above help you in your next conflict with the medical system! I believe in you, you got this!
At IMANNI Music, we believe in the power of music and self-expression as a means of healing and growth. I hope this article/blog was helpful!
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