Insurance is a fucking headache. It’s even more of a headache when the corporate office of the company you work for doesn’t have a clue as to what they’re doing.
About 2 months ago, Lee and I decided that it would make the most sense to switch him to my insurance. He’d end up paying a little more out of pocket each month, but the deductible was lower and because I work for such a large company, the negotiated discounts are much better. Plus, my company recognizes infertility while his does not. It seemed like a no-brainer, so I reached out to my human resources department to get the ball rolling.
The ball didn’t roll very far. That’s not my HR departments fault; it’s because they don’t actually handle any of the benefit administration. I would need to go online or call our benefits solutions center. So I go online and attempt to add the life event. We knew Lee would be insured through May 31st, so I figured that would give me some time to add the life event, find out what sort of supporting documentation I would need to make the change, send it in and that would be that. Boy, was I wrong.
According to the website, I wasn’t able to request a change due to a future life event. That seemed odd, so I called the 1-800 number to verify. The customer service representative confirmed that was true. That made me a little uneasy, as that would mean there would be a possibility that Lee might be uninsured for a few days while we waited for the new insurance to kick in. But those were the rules. And there was no turning back now. Lee had already waived coverage with his employer, so we would have no choice but to wait until June 1st to get Lee covered.
The 1st week of June arrived and I headed back to the website to get Lee insured. I had Lee provide me with every document imaginable. I wanted to make this a quick and easy decision process with the insurance company. I submitted the paperwork and waited.
And waited. And waited. About two weeks after I had submitted the request, I reached out to the benefit solution center again. All they could tell me was that the paperwork had been received and the decision was “pending review.” Now I’m starting to get pissed. How many life events do they deal with in a given day? Shouldn’t this be fairly cut and dry? I decided I would try to circumvent the benefit center. I decided to reach out to the corporate HR department to see if there was anything I could do to speed the process along.
I received the email address of a woman at corporate that my HR Generalist was confident would be able to provide answers. She explained that this was the person who reached out to her any time there was a discrepancy with someone’s benefit information. Surely she’d be able to help me get this sorted out. I sent an email explaining the situation and asking if there was anything I could do to facilitate (read: hurry this shit up). I received a response rather quickly from this person saying that our benefit administration had been outsourced and that if the benefit solution center was telling me to sit tight, I didn’t really have any other option. I immediately had a flashback to the movie “Office Space” when the Bobs meet with employees to determine their workload:
Seriously. Like, what the fuck is your job? You work in benefit administration, but yet, our benefit administration has been outsourced. So what do you do? Is it your job to act as a go between for the benefit center and the hotel’s HR department? If so, you’re not necessary. I have just saved the company thousands of dollars. YOU’RE WELCOME.
I was so angry. And when I’m angry, I cry. My boss, bless his heart, did everything in his power to find someone at corporate who could help, but to no avail. Apparently our corporate HR department is all just smoke and mirrors.
I waited patiently for another few days before I reached out to the benefit center again. This time I was determined to not get off the phone until I received the answers I needed. Luckily, I connected with a nice representative who understood the importance of our situation and pushed the decision through.
It took 2 months, multiple phone calls and emails, but Lee finally has health insurance again. Was all the hassle worth it? That remains to be seen. While I think the hoops that we needed to jump through to get this sorted out were absolutely ridiculous, I do believe that we’ll save money in the long run. There are upsides and downsides to working for such a large company. While some of the minutiae seems so absurd, I think the benefits of better discounts and insurance will end up making me forget about all of the bullshit we had to go through to make this happen. And if it doesn’t, I’m sure you’ll be hearing about it again.