overhead lift system reimbursement from Anthem, I wrote: “My insurance company indicated they will reimburse all but $700 of the $12,000 product cost. I haven’t seen that check yet, and I won’t believe it until I do.”
I was told by Anthem that all I had to do was submit a one-page claim form, and I would get my check. That’s a funny one.
Just for good measure, when I sent in the claim form I also sent the quotes I had received for the product, the invoices I had received for the product, and a letter from Anthem indicating that the product was preapproved, and at the higher in-network reimbursement rate.
Weeks went by and I heard nothing. I checked their website frequently until one day I saw that my claim had been denied. I was annoyed, but not completely surprised. I assumed there was more paperwork that they would need. So I called them and asked why my claim had been denied.
“The product you purchased is not medically necessary.”
“I am holding a letter from you dated June 6 that says the product is medically necessary, and that I will be reimbursed at the in-network rate.”
“Can I put you on hold?”
“Yes you can.”
About 10 minutes went by.
“It appears you are correct. The claim should not have been denied. I will put it back through the system and you should hear from us in 7 to 10 days.”
In about 10 days I saw online that the claim had been approved. The next day I received a rejection letter via snail mail that I knew was obsolete. But the interesting thing was their reason for denial.
“Our in-house physician has examined this claim and determined that it is for an experimental product. Anthem does not reimburse for experimental products.”
This was an entirely different, yet equally invalid reason for denying my claim.
About a week later I received full payment for the overhead lift system, cashed the check, and paid off my credit card. All is well that ends well.
I posted about this fiasco on Facebook, and I received many comments along the lines of, “That’s how they operate. They deny, deny, deny, and only if you are persistent do you beat them. It’s their modus operandi – their standard operating procedure. They hope you give up before they have to pay.”
I don’t think this is true, exactly. I can’t believe that managers and employees have staff meetings and training sessions where they teach the fine art of deception and lying. These are professional organizations and presumably decent human beings. Yet, it sure looks like they throw roadblocks up just hoping that you’ll trip on one of them, or give up altogether.
What we have here is an organization being conveniently incompetent.
I think they choose not to invest in training their claim processing personnel to be as competent and efficient as they could be, and make little effort to provide them with state-of-the-art claims management software. There would be meager return on that investment. Patients are not their customers, in the normal sense. The insurance company’s customers are the organizations who purchase their group policies. Most of these organizations make their purchasing decisions based on cost and coverage, with little regard given to claim processing service. So, if investing in better service doesn’t win them more business or in any way contribute to the bottom line, management in these organizations seems content with poorly trained personnel who tend to make copious errors, predominately in favor of the insurance company.
That’s how I think these things work. What do you think?