This week the case for our son’s feeding supplies and his formula was approved by the insurance company. We changed companies the first of the year and I began working to get the case set up with the new insurance company prior to the swap. Approval came almost exactly three months to the day after beginning the process.
Why did it take three months? Many, as in more than four or five, well-intentioned people thought they knew how to take care of the case and it turns out they were wrong. How could so many people be wrong? Some were new and simply didn’t know the answer. Most had been at their job for a while but things had changed and no one bothered to inform them. Everyone I spoke to was trying their best to help.
If you’ve never gone through this process before it may come as a surprise. Three months is actually not that bad to get everything in place if you’re changing insurance companies. Having a child with medical needs which require case management approval makes changing insurance companies complicated. Now that we’ve gotten through the process I feel comfortable sharing some tips on managing insurance companies, case management companies, supply companies, and frankly any large organization.
- Channel your anger and frustration into motivation to keep working on the problem. Take a breather as you need and put the phone on speaker so you can still live your life while spending hours on hold. Don’t let the battle demotivate you. Whenever you’re on the phone with someone it’s almost never going to solve the whole problem. You’re fighting a single battle… save some energy to win the war.
- Feeling anger is frequently appropriate but taking it out on someone is rarely, if ever, acceptable. This is especially true when it comes to dealing with these large organizations. The person you’re talking to is almost never the one who caused the problem in the first place. Showing anger and speaking roughly to them makes them less willing to help you and, as a direct result, makes it take longer to get your issue resolved.
- You will hear, “that’s not my responsibility,” over and over again in some form or another. That’s not a dead end though the person on the other end of the line frequently gives that impression. It’s important to ask “who’s responsibility is it?” and not to take “I don’t know” for an answer. They need to at least make an educated guess. Even if they’re wrong, as long as you keep track of who you’ve talked to and don’t let yourself be tossed off to the same place more than once you’ll eventually land in the right spot.
- Keep notes of names, phone numbers, fax numbers, and organizations you’ve spoken with. Not only does this prevent you from going down unfruitful paths you’ve already traveled, it also establishes responsibility if a mistake occurs. Mistakes are easier to resolve if one knows which organization and possibly who made them. The problem can be found and remedied much faster as well.
Those are the big things. If you have any questions about dealing with specific situations ask away in the comments and I’ll respond with recommendations on where to look next for a solution. If you can stay motivated, avoid letting anger cloud your judgement, and insist upon being pointed in a logical direction. That will resolve most problems.