Ah... insurance companies. For anyone with children, they can be a nightmare. For anyone with special needs children, you sypmathize with a fellow parent's dilemma and come with your own baseball bat for good measure. This was my plight yesterday afternoon.
It shouldn't be this difficult to find a pediatric dentist. Really.
Peanut has lost his 4th tooth. He has is two bottom ones in already and the two tops are now missing. He lost his first one quite a while ago and nothing's popped through, yet. We want to make sure that everything is growing the way it should, before he starts school, ideally. If we can't get an appointment until late September or October, I'm not going to stress about it. Regardless, he needs to start getting used to going.
I decided that I would try that 1800Dentist number. I would explain that I'd need someone who also worked with special needs kids as Pixie and Monkey would be going sooner or later. Might as well get one doc that kills every bird with one stone. They gotta exist...right?
I sighed and checked the fridge to make sure my wine was chilling on the door. *Open* Yup, we're good.
I picked up the phone and dialed. I got a lovely woman on the phone. She was awesome and really made me feel like this process wasn't going to be as painful as I thought. I gave her the information she requested and when I gave her my insurance info, she stopped me and sighed. (Never a good sign.)
“I'm sorry. Aetna doesn't work with our referral service. You're going to have to call their customer service line and talk to someone on the phone to find one in your area.”
It was my turn to sigh. I replied, “I was hoping that wasn't going to happen. Getting someone on the phone, from there... I have a better chance of seeing God.”
She laughed. What a pity. I really liked her.
“Well, why don't you see if you can find a directory on their website.”, she offered.
Not a bad idea. I won't have to deal with their $#!^^% customer service. Fair enough. I said thanks for the help (because she really was helpful) and hopped on my laptop to further my search.
I should have known better. If their customer service is crappy, their website was probably going to be too. Yep. Totally. I needed a doctorate just to navigate the &!^(#.
I will say that their online booking is a neat idea. You don't have to talk to anyone. You find a doctor in your area, click on their name, and you are given their schedule where you can book your appointment right there. They don't offer any phone numbers to make sure that they've gotten it... but hey, baby steps, right??!
I take a name I found and put it through Google to see about getting a number. AHA! Score! I grabbed my phone and dialed. After the 5th ring, I got someone on the phone and proceeded to tell her my story and what I needed. I figured that even if that particular dentist couldn't help me, maybe they knew someone or they could refer to someone who could.
When I got to the words “Pediatric Dentist”, she stopped me and proceeded to talk over me. I hate that. Rudeness is probably one of my biggest pet peeves. It doesn't cost anyone anything to have a bit of manners. Being raised down south taught me a few and also taught me that it can be done, so when someone is rude to me, there's this automatic eye twitch that starts...
She mentioned something about not being able to help me because they no longer took in child patients. Ok... not a problem. But that was only half of the reason why I was calling her.
I said “Ma'am, if you would please listen to what I have to say and then reply, you would be able to give me the information I'm looking for.”
Apparently, that didn't float her skirt. Instead, it got her frillies in a wad.
“You need to go to your insurance provider's website and look up what you need...”
“Yes, ma'am, I know. I did that and that's how I was able to contact you. I went through their website. You were the first dentist that was closest to me. I understand that you don't work with children anymore, but maybe you know someone who....”
“Then you need to call your insurance provider's customer service line. I'm sorry, I can't help you.”
… *growls* ….
Really?...seriously? You couldn't take 5 minutes out of your day to not only LISTEN to what I'm trying to tell you, but point me into a direction or even give me a frakkin' phone number? I'm SO sorry that I am taking you out of your SUUUUPER busy day that a simple phone number is too much for you to do.
(Anyone who knows me personally can attest to the fact that I'm being extremely nice right now. I've got a rather unique grasp of adult language and find myself growing more creative with it every time I have to deal with rude prats or my insurance company.)
“Yeah. Thanks for the help.”, I said and hung up. I went to the fridge and opened up the door again. I looked down and patted the bottle waiting patiently for me. “All in due time, my darling.”
I sighed, grabbed my phone and a note pad, and mentally prepared myself to calling the insurance company.
Aetna has to be one of the worst insurance companies I have ever dealt with. I am CONSTANTLY having to argue with them on something. I swear, if they could argue about the color of the sky, they would. And I know damned well they have my name on some kind of list. They see my number and they hand me off to the newbie. Poor kid. Their turnaround must be record breaking.
The first phone call, naturally, didn't turn out so well. (Heh, why should it?) After going through their ridiculous automated system, giving a retina scan, a blood sample, a hair sample, showing my genealogy, and various smoke signals, I was placed on call only to wait 30 minutes and then get hung up on.
*looks at the fridge*
I called again and went through to their “Health Concierge” service, whateverTF that is. I spoke to some guy named Aaron. Cool people. I've never dealt with him before. Either he's new or he was the unlucky one that just happened to answer my call.
I explained calmly (and probably sounded exhausted in the process) my plight and what I've had to deal with over the last two hours. After I was done, he mentioned that he had a 6yr old. Awesomesauce. He *might* understand.
When I told him about Pixie and Monkey and said that I needed a Special Needs Pediatric Dentist, I could hear him faintly sigh.
No,no,no!!!! No sighing! We were doing so good....!
“I'm sorry “MommaDe”. I don't want to have to give you more bad news, but you're going to have to get a Primary Care Dentist before you can get a Pediatric one because they are considered specialists.
What? Seriously? I almost laughed at this point. They need specialists to deal with kids. HA! ...whatever...
My family (Mom and Grandmother) had been going to a particular dentist for years and when I was a teenager, I remember spending an entire summer in his chair because the hot mess that was my mouth.
Then Aaron proceeded to tell me that most PC dentists don't take a child so young and that I might have a problem finding one of those. I prayed, hoping my family's dentist was in network.
No. Of course not. Why would he be? That'd be easy. I swear Aetna either means “No” or “Difficult” in another language.
So... I'm no better off than when I started. Only now, I have got a stress headache and I'm down a half a bottle of wine. WOO! It's amazing I'm not on prescription meds.
Keeping It Real,