Last evening I found myself buried in a sea of paper trying to help my mom and dad with all the insurance paperwork that we have to deal with as a result of my dad’s recent diagnosis of Lymphoma and his beginning chemotherapy. I have worked in the prescription drug benefit industry for over 30 years and even I have to admit there were times that I wanted to cry.
No matter how many times you check and double check, the insurance company always seems to find something that you missed. They reject one paper because you are missing one word. They reject another paper because they “need more information”. You can submit every paper you can get from the doctors office and inevitably you still miss “something that is needed”.
I was trying to match up claims to submissions, determine what was missing on explanation of benefits and even talk to the insurance company directly. Imagine what it is like to sit on hold for half an hour, finally get a person on the phone, have a copy of the authorization in your hand that was faxed in to allow you to speak to the company on your parents behalf and be told, “well we have the form but it hasn’t been processed by the privacy office yet” and that will take one to two weeks.
I understand privacy, HIPAA regulations, need for confidentiality and patient protection. I have lived that in my work for 30 years. However, there comes a point where it becomes absurd. You follow every rule, sign every paper, do all the things you have been told to do by the last ten people you have talked to and you still can’t get an answer. All of this and I grew up in the health care world. How do people that don’t have the knowledge I do accomplish all this? My guess is in most instances they get frustrated and just give up, which may be the goal of the company in the first place. Thank goodness I have an awesome oncology office and hospital system that cares enough to assist me through.
OK, now that I have that out of the way the real reason for my post is this. Yesterday, my mom said to me that she really appreciated all the help I was giving them. While it was certainly nice to be appreciated, I asked myself, “isn’t that what I am supposed to do?” There were many years that you put food in my stomach, clothes on my back and stayed awake with me the nights I was sick. The times you were there in an instant because I needed you, gave me money when I didn’t have any and let me raid your pantry when I was out of food and hungry. All my life you have given me unconditional love, supported me in my endeavors, sat in the rain during the games, listened to my speeches over and over.
While we may grow up, start our own lives and have our own families, we have a responsibility never to forget. It is why I started this program. To always remember those that paved the way for us. To continue to return the favor for so much that we were given. To show love and compassion for those that helped us get where we are in our lives today. Mom, I love that you appreciate me for the help that I give you. In my mind, it’s my job and a job that I will happily and willfully do every day I am able.
Have a great day and remember to be the reason someone smiles.