On Tuesday, Impatient readers met Will Allen of Long Beach. He was trying to help his sister, Betsy Allen, navigate her health insurance problems, and was beyond frustrated.
You may remember that Betsy fell about three years ago, fracturing her hip and traumatizing three vertebrae in her lower back. Her primary care doctor retired, so she was seeing the doctor who bought the practice – until she learned two months ago that the new doctor is not covered by her insurance, United Healthcare.
Will Allen wrote to Impatient:
So before the insurance company will move forward with anything, they expect her to pay for all the back visits that she has had to this doctor AND since she was seeing a pain management specialist (that she was originally referred to by her original doctor) but did not receive proper authorization from a new primary care doctor… she must pay all those back charges as well.
They've been trying to dispute these back charges, and planned on filing a complaint with the insurance company this week, with the help of the Health Consumer Alliance.
After I posted Will and Betsy's story on Tuesday, I received an e-mail on Wednesday from Matthew Yi, director of public relations at United Healthcare. He wrote:
Hi Rebecca – We saw your column yesterday about one of our members. We’d like to be able to help and wondering if you can help us connect with her or her brother.
I forwarded the message to Will. Here’s his response:
I just called my sister and read her your message... and Mr Yi's.... After I finished there was a long pause... I knew she was crying, she's overwhelmed... and thanks to you we both feel like we're finally making some headway... When she and I are together tomorrow morning we will call him.
I’ve asked Will to keep me updated on how this conversation goes. I’ll update this post when I hear more.
Have you felt lost navigating the health insurance labyrinth? Tell us about it in the comments section below, or e-mail us at Impatient@scpr.org. Your experience could help inform a future blog post.