Problem Solving Day. I’m Only One For Three!

Marquis, an Anthem CSR, told me there was a problem with the way my account was set up. He called back and left a number from which he cannot be reached. The recorded voice answered as Blue Cross of Georgia. Well played.

fridgeWe’ve got three accounts that have become pains-in-the-ass (Pain-in-the-asses? I never know). For two the problem stems from our wanting to pay! The other has to do with a refrigerator warranty and a receipt.

I have a moment to write while I await Anthem Blue Cross’s reply to my tweet. That’s what it’s come to. I’m tweeting for insurance help. There must be something in HIPPA that makes me a law breaker by now.

I have been attempting to get an autopay account set up for my insurance plan. The form asks for an account number. There is none on my card. There is none on my bill. The numbers on the card that aren’t called account number don’t work either!

Marquis, an Anthem CSR, told me there was a problem with the way my account was set up. He called back and left a number. The recorded voice answered as Blue Cross of Georgia. None of the options lead to him or his department. Well played.

I tweeted for help and was pointed to So far no response. Not even an automated ‘thumb sucker’ note acknowledging my message.

The second call went to my county’s tax collector. I spent thirteen minutes listening to mind numbing music and being reminded my call is very important. Important alone wasn’t enough to truly convey their feelings.

A tax bill I never received has gone past due. Life was so much easier where I could call and say, “Look… see how we’ve never missed a payment in 23 years?”

Now it’s paid plus a penalty. Great.

Finally there’s our refrigerator, a lovely LG. It’s started making noise and the freezer isn’t staying defrosted as it should. We’ve had it 13 months.

LG has agreed to extend the warranty (I sense this is a systemic problem they know about) with proof-of-purchase. In the tumult of moving we lost the receipt from Lowes.

After a dreadful time getting nowhere with the local store, I finally spoke to someone at the home office. The next morning received a receipt (with prices, but no specific items listed) via email.

I have enclosed copies of your purchase records as requested. It is sufficient for warranty and tax purposes.

When I presented it to Rick from LG he typed,

If I submit your case with this document this will be reject by upper management.

More emails will be sent. More calls to come. Why is it so difficult to make things right?

I’m one for three and that’s the one I paid with a penalty!

Will You Destroy That Fax, Mr. Fox?

“I have reported your breach,” he said.

Excuse me? I tried to get him to explain. It was all very confusing.

360healthbystate_doc_m65993308We just came off COBRA. If you understand what COBRA means, my sympathies. Now our health insurance is through Anthem Blue Shield Cross.

We just got our first paper bill in the mail. It was addressed to me and some unknown woman. Helaine’s name is listed elsewhere where it should be, but not on the first page.

I called Anthem and worked my way through the phone tree. Awful. When I finally reached the end of the chain I was told there would be nine minutes more to wait.

Mr. Robinson answered. That’s a first. Last name only.

I explained what I’d received, but he was confused. I offered to fax it to him, “Attention: Mr. Robinson.”

It took a little time. He called back.

“I have reported your breach,” he said.

Excuse me? I tried to get him to explain. It was all very confusing. What breach?

Then he said, “Will you destroy that fax, Mr. Fox?”

It didn’t register the first time, but he repeated himself and he was emphatic. Now I understood.

Geoff: “HIPAA?”

Mr. Robinson: “Yes.”

I asked if we were on a recorded line and when he said yes asked if my insurance was valid. He said, “Yes.”

I have no idea what happened, but it wasn’t good. I expect paperwork is coming my way.

JDRF Walk To Cure Diabetes

There are 1,100 parking spaces at Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield in North Haven. They were all full for today’s “Walk To Cure Diabetes.” A back of the envelope estimate says 3-4,000 people showed up!

That’s pretty good, considering the weather was awful. There were showers before, during and after the event. From time-to-time there were even downpours.

I love going to this event because I get to meet the people I’m trying to help.

Though there was a research setback reported last week, I still think juvenile diabetes can be eliminated, as polio and smallpox have been eliminated.

Here’s the article. Read past the headline, the bad news is in the last two paragraphs. The good news that led the article had been out for a while.

I am the celebrity chairman of this walk. I don’t know exactly what that means, except I give away my bosses airtime promoting the event, say hello to a lot of people during the event and shake a lot of hands.

The photo attached to this entry is a typical shot and I took a few dozen today. I don’t know the name of the totally soaked guy I’m with, but I was pointing to his tattoo in a bit of good natured fun and he was pleased I was.

This year’s walk was special in another way. Helaine came with me. As much as I enjoy the spotlight, Helaine avoids it.

I am very lucky to be able to help JDRF in a quantifiable way. No one at work tells me or even asks me to do this. I just know it’s right, and it makes me feel good. It couldn’t be any simpler.

Waking up early (for me) on a Sunday morning to stand out in the rain has never been more rewarding.

Continue reading “JDRF Walk To Cure Diabetes”

The Modern Diagnosis

Steffie had a pretty bad allergic reaction this weekend. It wasn’t fun for her, or for us. Your child can grow up – but she’s still your child.

As the week went on, the allergic reaction went away. That’s good.

Our family physician said Steffie should see an allergist. I called the to make an appointment with the allergist I see… or anyone in his practice. June – the earliest available appointment is June!

Popular folks these allergists.

I wasn’t sure what to do, so I sent my allergist an email, with a photo of Steffie taken while she was in the midst of the reaction. He took a look and wrote back.

His response suggested what we were already doing was right, and it wouldn’t be necessary to see him until or unless there were more problems.

I’m glad he wrote back, but this is a hell of an imposition on my part, isn’t it? Maybe it’s time to acknowledge the new era and have our insurance companies (or, shudder, me the patient) pay for this service.

As far as I can tell, when my internist or allergist gives me advice from his keyboard, he’s doing this out of the goodness of his heart – literally giving away the work he usually charges for.

My guess is, in some cases, Internet consultation is a good thing. From an insurance standpoint, isn’t this a chance to purchase a more cost effective service for their customers? Shouldn’t the physician be compensated to encourage this?

I am not a doctor (nor do I play one on television&#185). I’m sure those I know will tell me if I’m off base here.

&#185 – That line, “I’m not a doctor, but I play one on television,” was actually used in a TV commercial about 40 years ago.

Blogger’s addendum: And, my primary physician did respond:

If there were something that were more than 100%, I’d agree with you that much. Does the accountant or lawyer or guy at the gas pump EVER give it away for free? I think that our ethic and culture is different, though. Medicine is rightly called a “caring profession.” and when we care, we really do care. So we do it, without listening for the sound of the cash register ringing.

And don’t hold your breath waiting to hear that Aetna or Anthem or, God forbid, Medicare will ever pay me or your allergist for giving you email or even telephone advice. Not in my lifetime, and I plan to torture all of you for many years to come.

Published Photographer

For the past few years I’ve been taking pictures at the Juvenile Diabetes Walk at Anthem Blue Cross in North Haven. Last year, after the walk, someone from Anthem asked if they could use one of my shots for their annual report. I thought it would be nice for JDRF so I said yes.

This weekend, Carol Pompano came up to me to show me my handiwork and how it was used. Of course I’m thrilled to be published… but they’ve blurred it beyond the point of recognition. She said they didn’t have releases from the folks in the picture.

So, if you come across a very nice report with a fuzzy picture on the cover, please understand the original was sharp. Honest it was.

Walk to Cure Diabetes

I wish I could remember how my involvement with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and their yearly Walk To Cure Diabetes, began. I don’t. It has been over 10 years, I’m sure of that.

When I started helping, I didn’t know too much. I knew the word diabetes – not really what is was. Is that wrong?

Many civic and charitable organizations try to associate themselves with local radio and TV personalities. It’s a good, cheap way to get additional publicity. No one says that, but everyone knows it.

On the other side of the equation, lots of radio and television personalities try to associate themselves with civic and charitable organizations. There are a zillion reasons, some altruistic and some not.

Basically, I look at my job, realize I’ve got it good and wonder what I can do to show my gratitude.

What was unforeseen to me is how captivating and motivating my association with JDRF has been. In essence, a child doesn’t have diabetes – his family does. Everyone’s life changes, though none more than the diabetic.

Even with diabetes under control, you’re checking your blood by sticking yourself 5, 6, 10 time a day. If you’re lucky, you can use an insulin pump. If not, there are injections.

When you’re small your parents give the shots. As you grow older, it’s your responsibility. That’s a hell of an obligation for a teenager trying not to stick out in a crowd.

And then there’s the statistic that says the life of a diabetic is shortened by 15 or so years.

Anyway, the more I became involved, the more I wanted to be involved. Everything I read tells me a cure is close. I’m not a doctor, but I believe it’s true.

As this years walk approached, I asked at work if I could use our helicopter. It helps bring more visibility to JDRF… and it’s good for the station too. There were 4,000 walking in North Haven and another 4-500 in Niantic.

After some rain last night, I was pleased to see the forecast hold and the Sun come out. I woke up early and drove to Chester where the copter is based. It was chilly at 7:30 – I worried if I should have brought a jacket.

At Chester Airport, Chopper 8 is parked on a small trailer. It’s true. The pilot takes off and lands on a little trailer, not the ground. I climbed in the front with pilot Dan Peterman. Our photographer, Jim Bagley sat in the back with all the video gear.

It was a quick flight to Anthem Blue Cross in North Haven, the site of the first walk. I did a quick live hit on our morning news and we landed.

If you’ve never been to an event like this, it’s tough to explain. The Blue Cross campus was crawling with people of all ages.

I said hello and took pictures of and with as many people as I could. Around 10:00 AM the walk got underway and I made my way back to the helicopter for our trip to Niantic.

The Niantic crowd was smaller, more intimate. We were able to land he copter in a much more conspicuous place. Dan folded the doors back and we let people walk up and take a close look. Most people never get that chance and the copter is a big draw, especially with kids (and dads).

I went back to shooting and taking pictures.

Within the next few days I’ll have a better idea how JDRF did financially, My gut tells me this was a good year.

Now, here’s the payoff. We do this every year. But if we’re really successful, we’ll never have to do it again. It’s happened before. Polio was cured with research paid for a dime at a time. Maybe diabetes is next.

Blogger’s note – I took a lot of pictures… I mean a really huge number of pictures. As usual, they’re in my gallery.

Juvenile Diabetes Walk to Cure

This is my ‘busy’ charity season. In fairly rapid succession I have the JDRF Walk to Cure Diabetes, Blue Jeans for Babies and the Gateway Community College Awards Dinner.

I am very lucky. How many people have a TV station to ‘give away.’ Starting this afternoon I’ll be plugging the JDRF walk this weekend. Can I get more people to show up – get them more money for research? I don’t know, but I’d like to try.

Same thing with the March of Dimes and Gateway. Can I raise awareness? Does that translate into money?

Who knows how long the television business, or any business, will remain community spirited? I have seen, with other charities I help, that as local companies are bought by out-of-towners&#185 the commitment to local charity often dwindles.

Meanwhile, the JDRF walk is this Sunday. I have asked to borrow our copter and think I’ll get it, so we can get video and be at both Anthem Blue Cross in North Haven and Rocky Neck State Park. At this point, the weather looks good.

&#185 – In recent entries I had talked about SNET being bought by SBC. As far as I know their charity commitment remains high. This is a different local utility which is no longer locally owned.