It has felt like a rough few weeks. A few days ago our water heater burst in our basement, ruining the floor, baseboards and some of the walls, and they found asbestos. Luckily we were home and not traveling, as the water heater was continuously refilling and emptying, it started in the middle of the night and we found it the next morning. We took this week off to recharge a bit, so starting Sunday morning using the wet vac to suck out the water, call plumbers for new water heaters, and the insurance company was not how I wanted to start a week of vacation. Additionally, most of Nico’s toys are downstairs and it is where we spend the most time with him.
I am not going to lie. I’ve been extremely frustrated and short. I had a plan for how we were going to spend the week. Day dates with Chris, sleeping in as much as Nico would let us, and definitely not waiting for contractors to come or sitting on the phone to find out the insurance process is extremely slow and frustrating.
And then…we take a moment and realize that the insurance company is slow and frustrating because they have been on the phone with families in California who have lost their homes. My heart goes out to those that have lost their homes and it is a startling reminder that the flooding in our basement while annoying and disruptive is not nearly as big of a deal when I think of all the families that may not have a home. Interesting how quickly things can be put in perspective.
A few weeks ago a good friend was attacked in the face by a stranger and may need to undergo reconstructive surgery to his face. It took me almost a week to process that this happened. My friend is extremely fit and definitely capable of taking care of himself and hearing about the experience made me realize how vulnerable we all are – which can be scary. As a woman I am always aware of when I am safe or not, and when I am alone at night how freaky it can be. To learn that someone I care about was hurt, and probably did not have a moment to react, makes me fearful, but also aware that we never really know what is going to happen next. If we live in fear then we are never really living. A group of friends that love him started this Go Fund Me to raise money for his recovery. Feel free to contribute if your heart desires. He is one of the really good ones, and always takes care of others.
Like I said it has been a rough few weeks (other things in addition to the water heater and my friend) but I will not bore you with the details. Instead I am hopeful that I am reminding you to look up and squeeze the hand of someone you love, give them a hug, tell your kid how much you appreciate and love them, or maybe it is a coworker that could use a little lift. We always have more than we realize even when the world throws curveballs our way. Just take a moment to see and be grateful for the little things even when they may be hardest to see.
A group of neighbors got together over the weekend and while a few of us were talking the topic of mechanics and doctors came up and I had an aha moment over something one individual said. We were discussing a plethora of topics, but this one comparing mechanics to doctors was so spot on.
Think about this. You take your car in to get fixed, whether for its regular tune up or because you heard an odd sound. They take some time to explore the issue, and then before they do any work they let you know what the issue is, what they will have to do (if it ever makes any sense) and how much it is going to cost. You know right then your doom. Do you walk away with the cost of an oil change, or is time to get a new car? You might need new brakes, a new engine, or some other strange part you have never heard of.
Juxtaposition that with going to the doctor. You go to the doctor for a check-up or because something specific is bothering you. They tell you they need to run a bunch of tests. You wait for the results (days) and you then wait much longer (often weeks to months) to find out how much it is truly going to cost you. Even with good insurance you often do not know how much the different tests will cost you. Additionally, it depends on who does the tests. I have found that some places charge vastly different amounts for the exact same test. I guess a mechanic is similar in that different mechanics can charge different amounts for the same work. However, if all the doctor or lab is doing is taking our blood, and testing it how can there be such a vast different in cost? A lot of the costs have to do with what your insurance company will pay, what your specific plan covers, or if you hit your deductible.
How is it that you can get your car diagnosed and you can get the price, but you cannot get the price for what it might take to fix you? There should be more transparency of costs. Sort of like when you go to a restaurant and they show the calorie and fat content, the cost details for tests and doctor visits should be available to patients.
Would a change in this process start with doctor’s offices or with the insurance companies? What do you think?
How often do you pursue an issue not because of the money you save, but because at the end of the day your decision to dig deeper has more to do with principle?
These past few weeks it seems there have been quite a few issues Chris and I have run into where we have to stay adamantly persistent to get to the bottom of an issue due to the principle behind the situation. We always ask ourselves, will fighting this potentially help someone else in the future? If we resolve this, could it mean that maybe what happened to us will not happen to someone else?
Often I think individuals just want to find the path of least resistance, yet that can be the easy way out. The harder, more involved, and sometimes frustrating path is to hold companies and individuals accountable for the mess they sometimes make. I will give you an example. Our company covers one preventative exam per year (per individual covered). It is free. This year Chris went to a different location for his check up. It was one of those quick places, that you just walk in. Quick and easy. Or so he thought.
After the specific provider forced him to pay his co-pay, he remembered that his preventative exam was free. Phone call after phone call to our insurance provider and the medical care provider to hopefully resolve the issue, what he found out was that while this medical provider was “in-network,” yet they were also listed as an “emergency care” provider. The contract between our insurance company and this medical care provider was that copays only apply for non emergency care providers, yet this is not disclosed to us. Based on that, and the contract they had with our company, we were required to pay the copay. Obviously a loophole.
After many hours and phone calls later it is finally resolved. We received a refund of our copay, after our company got involved with our complaint. While this was for a small amount of money, what if it was for $20,000? Does the amount really matter? Is it more about principle? $1 or $100, or $1,000? We should hold others accountable in hopes that we make life easier for individuals in the future.