December 18, 2020 – Getting Things Done

Today began as it usually does. I got out of bed, used the ‘facilities’, washed my face, brushed my teeth, combed my hair, threw on a robe, and headed downstairs. Breakfast was the first item on the agenda. After I prepared it and placed it on the kitchen table, I took a seat and began to eat. It is while I’m eating breakfast that my brain starts to shift out of neutral and into first gear. It’s the time when the house is relatively quiet and I can begin to think about all of the things I need to accomplish during the remainder of the day. Inevitably, dinner is one of the first things that comes to mind because if I wait until it’s dinnertime, it is usually too late to have anything prepared. Anything I might have on the menu generally involves some type of meat, and if I haven’t pulled it out of the freezer by early afternoon, I have to think of a Plan B. Plan B is take-out 90% of the time. And I’m trying to save money and eat better, so fortunately I had the wherewithal to pull some corned beef out of the freezer and have it defrosted in time for supper.

Once I had dinner figured out, I tried to remember all of the other things I needed to do. Pay bills, put a grocery list together, make Christmas cards (for anyone I may have missed when I sent out the batch earlier this week), clean the dishes, wash the laundry, ‘fix’ my blog and one other thing. What was that other thing I was supposed to do?! Oh, yes! I was supposed to contact my insurance company and get my claim straightened out so I can resume my counseling sessions and start working through some stuff that’s got me ‘stuck’. For those of you optimists, I imagine you believe that I was successful. I imagine you saying to yourself, “Surely! She’ll get it resolved once and for all. Those folks at the insurance company are reasonable people. They don’t ask for much. I bet when she calls, they’re going to tell her that since the last time she spoke with them, everything has been approved and paid and she’s got the ‘all clear’ to continue to see her therapist. In fact, I bet she’ll even have a credit towards her account!”

You would be wrong. I started out thinking that very way, that everything was going to be resolved and that I could immediately call my therapist and schedule an appointment. But as is often the case with insurance, things are seldom resolved in a timely manner or without a lot of back-and-forths between you, the claims ‘specialists’ and your doctors. And in my case, I’m dealing with Tricare, a company that serves military members and their dependents. If you’re familiar at all with Tricare, you’ll know they’ve got a pretty lousy reputation. Many physicians won’t even accept them because they’re such a hassle to deal with. But that’s who I have to work with (as the dependent spouse of a retired service member) so I try to be patient through all of the bureaucratic processes that would make most people just want to curl up in the fetal position and give up. And this morning, after I ate my breakfast and made mental notes of all of the other things I needed to accomplish today, I reached out to a claims specialist with Tricare.

She couldn’t have been a lovelier person. She asked me to provide the required information in order to access my account, my date of birth and my husband’s social. I was then asked to provide the date of the claim or the claim#. I had the claim# handy from the last time I called so I gave it to her. “Can you tell me whether claim# such-n-such was approved?” I asked her. “I’ve been trying to get it approved and paid for over a year.” “Hmmm. Let me check,” she responded. “Oh. It looks like it was denied. They said your counselor isn’t authorized.” Huh? My friends, I wish I could tell you how many different times I’ve called and how many different people I’ve talked to that have promised me they would fix this, to no avail. “My counselor is authorized,” I assured her, as I went on to explain in great detail. “Yes, you’re right!” she answered. “But it looks like they’re going to need one more thing.” “One more thing?” I questioned. “I don’t know what else they could possibly need.”

What more can I give them that they don’t already have? Do they want a lock of hair? Or must I swear to use Tricare and only Tricare until death do us part? Or will I have to agree to hand over my first born grandchild? What if none of my kids ever have kids? What then? I guess it wasn’t anything that extreme. “After looking through all of the notes from all of the previous times you’ve called, they’ve indicated you’re going to need a medical referral from your doctor,” she said. Oh, good grief! You’ve got to be kidding me. I already did that. “Ok,” I replied. “But can you tell me everything that needs to be included so that I won’t need to do this again? Should it include the claim#?” “Yes,” she confirmed. “Include the claim# and be sure to send it to fax# such-n-such.” Have any of you been through this? It always leaves me with a knot in my stomach. As much as you want to believe that this will finally be the ‘last’ thing they’ll need in order to approve and pay your claim, deep down you know it probably will take several more calls and several more months before anything ever gets resolved.

Until they pony up the money, I am not stepping foot back into the counselor’s office. Each time I go, it’s $140 out of pocket. I don’t know about you, but I don’t have that kind of money laying around. I need to go, I really do. But not if it’s going to put me in financial straits. And it sucks when you have to put aside your mental health needs because it’s either 1) use the money to see a counselor, or 2) use the money to buy groceries or pay your electric bill. Fortunately for me, I can lean on my husband when I think I’m ready to go crackers. He is level headed and generally able to give me the support I need, at least enough to hold me over until I can schedule a session. But I think he’s getting worn out. I don’t think he planned on taking on that role for such an extended period of time. In the past, maybe he had to step into the role of ’emergency therapist’ for a couple of weeks or even a month, but never for this long! And the poor guy’s already got his hands full! He just finished replacing our heating and cooling system and teaching a class at the local community college and now he’s in the middle of remodeling our bathroom as well as prepping for his next class that starts in a couple of weeks.

Something’s got to come through at some point, it just has to! At least I have you readers to entertain while I’m getting it sorted out. As I’ve mentioned before, this blog is saving my keister! Without it, I think I likely would get placed in some kind of ‘involuntary hold’ after chasing my husband around with an ax and loudly proclaiming, “Heeeeeeere’s Johnny!” Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that! All that aside, I feel good about the fact that I followed through on the promise I made to you folks yesterday. Even though I wasn’t successful, at least I made some headway. You readers keep me accountable, which is a good thing! And since I’m on the subject, I have to let you know that I did spend a fair amount of time making some improvements to my blog today. My daughter is out visiting and she mentioned some things I could do to help streamline it and make it easier for people to navigate. I took her advice to heart and on every single post thus far, I inserted a ‘read more’ option after the first paragraph so that if you choose to scroll through, it should only take you a couple of minutes to find the content you’re looking for, rather than a couple of hours.

As much as I want to go to bed right now, I still haven’t put my grocery list together and it’s not going to do it all by itself. That said, if I want to get it done before the birds start chirping and the sun begins to rise, I’d better start now. And that means I’ve got to go! The bills, the dishes, the laundry and the Christmas cards will have to wait until tomorrow. Many thanks for stopping by! I hope you come back soon.

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