Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Who's on first?

Here we are almost a year into the new health care era. While I’m all for anything that can combine affordability and care, I have to admit that sometimes it gets a little confusing trying to plow through the plethora of plans. Take last Monday for example.

Me: Who is the insurance company for this first patient?
Secretary Kim: Who.
Me: The first patient’s insurance.
K: Who.
M: The guy’s insurance plan.
K: Who.
M: What are you asking me for? I’m asking you.
K: And I’m telling you. Who.
M: What’s their name?
K: No, what’s the name of the insurance company for our second patient.
M: I don’t know.
K: That’s for our third patient.
M: I didn’t ask about the third patient; I’m still trying to find out about the first one.
K: Who.
M: What’s their name.
K: No, what’s the name for the second patient.
M: I don’t know.
K: I told you, that’s the third patient’s plan.

Me (Trying very hard to remain calm): OK, let’s work through this logically. We see this first patient. He seems like a nice man. He has an infection. We treat him and he leaves happy. Now at the end of the day, we send the bill to who?
K: Now that’s the first thing you’ve said right yet.
Me (nearly choking on my coffee): I don’t even know what I said! (Regaining composure): We send it to who?
K: Of course. We wouldn’t be in business very long if we didn’t.
M: To who?
K: Why wouldn’t we? He’s paid his premiums.
M: But what’s their name?
K: No. What’s the name for our second patient.
M: I don’t know.
Both of us at the same time: THIRD PATIENT.

Realizing I was getting nowhere fast, I tried to change the subject: Have you sent in the application for us to be on the new Medicaid plan?
K: Tomorrow?
M: You’re too busy now? We need to do it right away. I’ve already forgotten their name.
K: Tomorrow.
M: Why not today?
K: Today is the new Anthem-based plan. We’re already on their provider list.
M: Why did you bring up Anthem?
K: Did you say Why? Why is the new Humana-Medicare supplement. We’re not talking about them.
M: Why?
K: Yes, Why.
M (Not knowing what else to say): Just because?
K: Oh, no. Because is the St. Francis plan. We can’t participate in that one. The hospital is out of network.
Me (trying to salvage what was left of my sanity): Let me see if I’ve got this straight. Our first patient’s bill goes to Who. What is for the second patient. I don’t know—that’s for the third. We have signed up for Today and Tomorrow, and also Why, but not Because, for as everyone knows, it is a St. Francis plan and so we cannot participate. And you know what (throwing my chart down)? I don’t give a damn.
My wife, walking into the room: What did you say?
Me: I said, ‘I don’t give a damn.’
Wife: Oh, that’s the new state insurance plan I signed us up for last week.


  1. This is really funny. I like the various insurance companies you mention, and the tie in with classic slapstick comedy. Not entirely sure if this was intentional or not, but I am pretty sure that filling out insurance claims is like getting a pie in the face, or a kick in the pants. Thank you for sharing this.

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