Are you ready for another KAISER IS SHIT post?
Before I get into yet another tirade, let me delve into a little background. I am a life-long Kaiser patient. During my teenage years, I was at Kaiser every month seeing a dermatologist for severe acne. For God’s sake, I was a candy striper at the Kaiser Oakland hospital in high school and as a result, was given a nice little scholarship for college. Cool beans. I loved Kaiser. I felt like it was a well-run organization.
But now, as a patient with even bigger problems than acne, I am starting to see how deplorably they run the business. It’s like they decided to cut costs by hiring a bunch of dumbnuts who could care less about doing adequate work. Hmm, let me just sit here at my desk and collect a paycheck. What a fucking amazing job! Don’t answer phone calls. Don’t fill out paper work. Do absolutely nothing.
I think that’s the criteria Kaiser uses. Are you good at nothing? Do you like to do nothing? Work at Kaiser!
Considering how much I detest Kaiser, I should clearly explain why I chose to stick with Kaiser for 2013 instead of switching to a PPO. Bottom line, Kaiser is cheap. In total for 2012, I have spent less than $3,500 on all my health care expenses: paycheck deductions, 2 ultrasounds, 1 hysterosalpingogram, a multitude of lab work, 4 intrauterine inseminations, fertility meds, a year supply of contact lenses, 15+ acupuncture treatments, herbs, and various prescriptions. That total also includes my dental and vision expenses, but obviously the bulk of the expense has been Kaiser costs. I can only imagine how much all of the above would have cost me if I’d had a PPO.
I guess, in the end, you get what you pay for so I need to temper the bad patient experience with the cost.
I’ve wanted to go to specific recommended acupuncturists (not covered by Kaiser) in the past, but am now thinking of going the cheapy route and trying the acupuncturists who are covered within my plan. Might as well give it a try. I called Member Services to ask what my options are. Mind you, I called Member Services not some Hyderabad-based customer service rep.
Member Services: No, acupuncture isn’t covered.
Me: What? That’s not possible.
Member Services: Kaiser does not cover acupuncture. Acupuncture is not covered with any medical plan. You have to pay for it out of pocket.
Me: But my employer-based Kaiser plan has it in writing. I quote, ‘Acupuncture Services – Covered.’
Member Services: Hmmm, let me do some research.
[2 minutes pass]
Member Services: Yes, acupuncture is covered for you.
Me: Excuse me? Can you explain to me your process? You initially told me acupuncture was not covered. Now you tell me it is covered only after I press you. How did you suddenly change your mind?
Member Services: I had to read the notes for your plan and it shows that you’re covered.
Me: Why didn’t you read the notes for my plan before telling me I wasn’t covered? Are you dumb? Seriously, are you dumb?