When it comes to the division of our household responsibilities, Jodi has always been the one in charge of important things like bills, insurance and keeping a healthy supply of seasonal Reese's peanut butter candies available for us to snack on (by us, I mean mostly me). This was not something we fully discussed going into our marriage, as we sort of took on our roles based on what we were already good at: she, with numbers and responsibility; and me, being able to lift things and having little to no fear of eliminating household pests. Sure, there have been times when we've been frustrated with each other, wishing that certain things weren't solely upon one of our heads. Yet while the responsibilities have remained pretty much the same over the years, we've each tried hard to pitch in and help each other out, no matter how large or small the effort may be. Sometimes I'll write a check here and there, or log onto a website to make a payment on something that we can't put on autopay. Conversely, Jodi will take over dish washing responsibilities, take out the trash or get laid off from her job so that I have to learn all about the wonderful world of health insurance. Seems fair, no?
I guess I should give a little frame of reference before moving on. Jodi lost her job about a month ago. Well, she didn't lose it. She knew right where it was, but the people she worked for decided it was time to downsize and pay someone else much less to do a portion of the work she did for them. And it wasn't one of those, "We'll give you the day to say goodbye to everyone and move on," type of things (does that even exist?). It was, "Clear out your desk as much as possible, we'll pack up the rest and ship it to you overnight. Oh, and would you mind if we escort you out of the building?" type of things. This woman doesn't have a criminal bone in her body, aside from her penchant for cat burglary and three card monte, so this seemed excessive and unnecessary. Needless to say we were both pretty devastated. Not only would she be losing a great job, but the salary and benefits that we all relied upon as well. We had been using her health insurance from day one, since it kicked so much ass, and it was very crucial for her since she developed her rheumatoid arthritis during that coverage period. Sure, there were some problems here and there with in-network doctors and prescription approvals, but overall it was a good program and we didn't take it for granted.
So now Jodi's out of a job and I have to figure out how my company's health insurance works, not to mention getting coverage when open enrollment wasn't happening yet. I sent off an email to HR regarding our life changing "event," get some paperwork to fill out and fax everything back as soon as I can. I didn't hear anything back for a few days, so I decided to call and check up on things. I learned that they were missing a copy of Olivia's birth certificate (which I would not have known had I not contacted them myself), sent that off and checked back again a few days later. Finally, I was relieved to learn that we were covered as of the 1st of September and that we could resume going back to doctors appointments and purchasing prescriptions. Or, so I thought. Shortly after our coverage confirmation Jodi had a doctor's appointment scheduled, but we had no insurance card or group/member info to give them. I called our provider, UHC, to find out when we were getting our cards. Much to my surprise, they tell me there's no record of us in their system and I should contact my HR department to find out the status of our enrollment. What the what? I call HR and they tell me there was a "technical glitch" and that somehow our enrollment wasn't entered properly. This gets fixed a day later and HR assures me that we're all set, which is just in time because Jodi got sick and needed to see a doctor as soon as possible.
Jodi prints off a temporary insurance card from UHC's website and heads to our nearest urgent care center. They diagnose her with both acute pharyngitis and an unhealthy obsession with 'House of Cards.' She protests the latter part of the diagnosis, however as the doctor tries to explain himself Jodi turns away from him to look at an imaginary camera, gives a, "Can you believe this guy?" look, makes a brief statement about power and then double taps her engagement ring on the examination table. The doctor then writes her one script for an antibiotic (to flush the bug out of her system) and another for a season of 'Night Court' (to flush the Spacey out of her system) then sends her on her way.
Jodi heads to our pharmacy, the same one we used on our previous insurance, to get her meds. She hands them the scripts and the temp insurance card, they look her up and she learns that, once again, we're not in the system. She calls me, explains the situation, and it is here that the 2 day, merry-go-round sessions of phone calls begins to try and figure out why we're not in the system. In the interest of time and boredom on the part of whoever reads this, I will try to make this brief:
- I call UHC to determine what the issue is. After a few attempts, they find us in their system and tell me that, as far as they're concerned, we should have coverage. They use a 3rd party company (ES) to handle prescriptions, so I'll have to contact them to determine what the problem is.
- I call ES and they have a hard time finding me. After a series of questions about my personal information they figure out that my date of birth is wrong in their system. I'm told to call UHC back to get this fixed.
- Call UHC back regarding my DOB and they tell me they have no control over that information. If I want it changed I'll need to contact my HR department.
- Call HR about the DOB issue. After re-confirming all 3 of our birthdays, I'm told that they are on the case and will get this information changed. I do not hear back from them about the fix before I leave work, so Jodi has to go without her meds.
- Visit wise owl on the way home to try and figure out how many more calls it will take before we get to the bottom of our insurance problem. He shrugs and says that if it ain't about Tootsie pops he can't help me.
- Call HR back first thing in the morning, but only get their voicemail. After waiting two hours I get a call back confirming our info is in and we should be good to go (haven't I heard this before?).
- Jodi goes back to the pharmacy, but they tell her there is still a problem.
- With Jodi waiting at the pharmacy, I call ES to try and figure out what's going on. They still have problems finding me in their system. They ask for a member ID, which I thought was on my new insurance card, but they tell me that's the one for our health insurance company. I'm told there is a seperate member ID needed for prescriptions, which I obtain and relay back to Jodi to give to the pharmacy. They try this and still no luck.
- I call ES back and I'm given the same runaround. I inquire about this second member ID and ask why, if this is such an important piece to get prescriptions filled, it is not on my insurance card. After being put on hold for a few minutes the rep tells me that my company chooses what information is listed on our health insurance cards, and that I should contact them about it. Stunned, I ask what I should do in the meantime outside of writing this very crucial information on a piece of paper and keeping it for whenever we need meds. The rep actually thinks this is a very good idea (maybe I should get it laminated while I'm at it?!?), provides another number that our pharmacy can call to try and sort things out and wishes me luck.
- I get back to Jodi, who is tired and just wants to go back home and crawl into bed, and give her the new number to try. Unfortunately the calls they try only end up getting disconnected, so Jodi does what anyone in this day and age would do: she tweets both companies to try and get help.
- Before leaving work in frustration, I get a call from a manager at ES. She tells me she's going to help out, gets some of our personal info and tells me she'll call me right back. Within minutes I hear words that are music to my ears: "We're very sorry for all the problems you've dealt with. You can get your prescriptions filled now." Let me tell you, this lady was amazing. She apologized over and over for all the problems we had and told me not to hesitate getting her or anyone else in their management involved if we had further problems. "We'll do whatever we can to get things right." Goddamn that's awesome.
- I thank the ES manager for her help and understanding and before ending the call she tells me what the source of all these problems and confusion is: Jodi's date of birth. "You should call your HR department and have them fix that and you should be all set." Oh, I will absolutely be talking to HR about this.
- Finally, after being on the phone on and off for my entire work day, I call the HR contact who has been helping me out this entire time. I tell him what the problem was and he asks me to confirm our DOBs. I hear a pause on the end of the line and then, "Ohhh, yeah I messed up." YOU THINK?!?!? So the info I gave him over the phone the day before, the same info that we filled out on our initial paperwork and I would think this guy has access to, was somehow incorrectly entered into the system. I re-re-confirm the DOBs and he tells me he'll have it fixed right away.
- I pick up Jodi's meds and a very large can of beer, make sure she's comfortable and try to erase the past two days from my memory. In my semi-buzzed state I decide to stand on our toilet to try and hang a clock in our bathroom. I slip, hit my head and have a vision for something I dub the "flux capacitor." The next day I come up with a prototype, buy a DeLorean with Jodi's severance money, steal some plutonium from a group of Libyans and create a time machine. I travel back in time 3 days prior to try and warn myself of the impending insurance problems, in the hopes that they can be averted. Unfortunately all my past self wants is the outcomes of all major sporting events for the next few days, my warning is not heeded and I go through all of that headache again. What a waste.
It took Jodi a little over a week to recover from her illness, which meant I was on my own with Olivia duties while mommy was quarantined in our bedroom. The funny thing is, Miss O was surprisingly good for me the entire time and threw little to no tantrums. She used to be moody and temperamental whenever I'd try to get her up in the mornings, but now it's easier and she's actually smiling when I go into her room. We visited a nearby street carnival, hit all our major playgrounds, watched cartoons and even managed to get a little housework done (she loves being a little helper). At one point she decided she wanted to pretend that she was Elsa from 'Frozen' and that I was Kristoff. We'd talk about the characters in that world and what they were doing. It was fun to go on like that, but she wanted to carry it on well into our bedtime routine. I don't have a problem with pretending, but I also want her to remember who she is, who we are in her life and when it's time to come back to reality. Maybe I was being a bit of a hard ass about it, but it felt like we had some good bonding time together and I didn't want to let it slip away. For better or worse, kid, you're stuck with me.
Once Jodi emerged from her cave and she was able to be around us, more of the old, crazy Olivia crept back in (although on a lesser scale than before). She was beyond happy to see her mommy again, which was great to see, but then that meant I was back to being her least favorite parent. I try to make myself part of play and conversations, hoping to keep at least some of the ground I'd gained, and that's all I can do right now. She still whines to Jodi about getting the things she wants that we tell her she can't have, throws tantrums over absurd things like not having pockets on the pants she's wearing and won't nap on the weekends, which means she's a ticking timebomb just waiting for an excuse to blow up. For better or worse, dad, you're stuck with her. Goddamn I love that kid.