Note: I read all comments and respond to most. --- New posts every 10 to 15 days...except when life decides to get in my way by dropping a log into my pond.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Or, Better Yet -- Fax It?

Have you ever had to copy-and-send additional info to an insurance or medical billing company? I would almost bet my bottom dollar that they won't receive it -- the first time, anyway. 

Inevitably, it always gets lost -- even if it's mailed in their own postage-paid envelope or faxed directly to the right person. It never fails. It was planned to happen this way. 

You discover the mishap when their Explanation of Benefits or billing statement arrives in the mail. It simply doesn't agree with the extra info you so diligently gave them. So, you call.

Following fifteen minutes or more of jumping through hoops with your fingers punching in numbers to satisfy the automated system, a live voice appears, wondering why on earth you thought it necessary to call them.

This is the one who almost always doesn't understand what you're talking about (or you can't understand what they're talking about), so you ask for a supervisor. After another five or ten minute wait, you decide to hang up. You'll try again at a better time. [HA!]

Finally reaching a CSR (Customer Service Rep) who knows what's up, you are informed of the inevitable:
It might be lost...but give it just one more week. They always run a bit slow in that department. Can you call back then?
Wanting to sound cooperative, you agree. It really doesn't make any difference though. In one or two weeks you will again hear the inevitable:
Certainly it's lost by now. It's been over a month. Did you mail it in or fax it? I know this is an inconvenience for you, but...
Now here's the clincher...
...could you mail it in again? Or, better yet -- fax it?
As if this will make any difference. Obviously, they're not only buying time, but also playing the odds that you will choose to simply give up and agree with/pay whatever the EOB or statement says.

I'd like to think that I practice what I preach in choosing my battles wisely, but this is one I'm not at all certain as to the smartest way to go. I mean, it involves money, and I seriously watch every penny. On the other hand, too much hassle can cost me more than just money.

Both Citibank and Chase have informed me that I am in the top less-than-2% in the U.S. Can you believe it!? There is really that small of a percentage who actually reconcile their credit card or bank statements. The vast majority of consumers today simply trust their electronic systems...or so I was told.

Besides the hundreds of dollars saved in unaccountable adjustments made to receipts and statements, I've also recovered nearly $1000 cash from card companies and banks over the past 8 years. It's not a fortune, but I believe it's better than having kissed it all goodbye. Wouldn't you agree?

Perhaps I am choosing my battles wisely after all. Now, if I could only remember this the next time I hear that annoying yet inevitable:
...could you mail it in again? Or, better yet --fax it?


Christa said...

Haven't been in that situation, but I am certainly dealing with "medical bill" frustrations where I'll need to make a phone call or two to get clarity on a particular bill, and perhaps dispute it. These kind of things keep me from wanting to go into the medical field.

M Kathy Brown said...

@Christa ~ Another title I could've used was: Who's Paying What? That definitely would've fit your comment :~)