Friday, January 23, 2009

CIGNA is an ulcerated boil on Satan's backside...

Just had the most irritating event today. Jill and I are flying to Arkansas by way of Memphis on Sunday AM to go to BB's clinic for a week. It will be funny to meet the guy after all this time.

CIGNA is the administrator of Disney's self-insured medical insurance plan. Because the tests that BB is running are expensive (MRI, PET scan, etc.) I wanted to make sure it was covered. CIGNA has known about this for WEEKS and did indeed certify them as in-network expenses. Until 4:45PM today, Friday, 15 minutes before closing and with no way to do anything about it.

Elizabeth from PinnacleCare emailed me to say that BB's assistant Bonnie (the very nice woman who sent the alarmist email) was informed that these tests would not be covered. So now I'm out tens of thousands of dollars. There is an appeal process, but even so, this is maddening to say the least.

I called my CIGNA contact and ripped her a new one (pardon my french). I've never been so angry in a phone message in my life -- the language was extremely colorful (more swearing than Tom Cruise's character in Tropic Thunder) and my voice was raised and I had a few real gems in there. By the end of the message I was screaming at the top of my voice and told her that I'm sure she wouldn't want to be my case manager and I said I was indifferent because I'm sure I'd get the same crappy level of service no matter who they put on my account.

I also warned them...if their MO is just to deny a claim a hundred times and wait for the person to go away, they are in for a rude awakening because I'm going to be louder, angrier, more full of choice vocabulary words, etc. if they don't do exactly what I demand of them.

The most upsetting thing is that this is taking energy that I need to fight my disease. I told my friend that I was so damn angry and screamed so much that I'm pretty sure I killed a few cancer cells just from pure rage.

In other news, a bought a couple of books off Amazon: 100 Questions and Answers about Myeloma, and 100 Questions and Andwers about Stem Cell Transplantation. These are depressing books but they are useful, even though by now I've learned about 80% of the material just from my own research. They will help me fill out my list of questions for BB.

Lastly, I got my itinerary for next week. Monday is EKG and X rays. Tuesday is a first consult with BB, a bone marrow biopsy (for which I'm demanding some kind of sedation), the gene array analysis, administrative stuff and a 2-hour PET Scan appointment at 7PM! Wednesday is pulmonary tests and other follow up. Thursday is an MRI and nutrition counseling. Friday is an hour consult with BB and then I'm free to enjoy all that Little Rock has to offer on Friday evening.

Jill and I do plan on having dinner with a lovely woman named Lois who went through BB's protocol a couple of years ago, and her husband. They've been very nice and have told me everything they can about the protocol, its side effects, etc.

Well, I've calmed down enough from my screaming fit voicemail mode to at least make an effort to get some rest. So off to bed I go.


  1. I think my blood pressure shot up 30 points reading this! I filled in some of the curses myself. I have had insurance companies try to go back on what they've said several times and the only way I was able to force them to cover what they said they would was by keeping a record of the name of the person who
    said it and the exact date. Now, because I have
    been screwed too many times, I bought a digital recorder and record any conversations that involve money, including those I have with my tenants. In NJ, we are a "one-party disclosure" state and it is legal to record phone or cell phone conversations as long as one person is aware even if it's the one doing the taping. I just had a contractor threaten to sue me as he changed the warranty period for a driveway I had installed at the rental property we own halfway through the job. I told him he was not getting his final payment
    until he agreed to what he proposed in the beginning. He claimed he never proposed that.
    Wasn't he surprised to find out I had a tape recorded phone conversation of him where he spoke about the 3 year warranty. You can download off these things right onto your computer and e-mail the sound clips to whomever. VERY
    effective. It's a tiny thing, made by Olympus and I got it at Radio Shack. A worthwhile investment. Hope it all works out for ya.

  2. Hi Nick. I linked to your blog from Don's. My husband was diagnosed in August with MM; he's 28 years old, so a youngster like yourself. I have been reading through your entries and am so sorry that you guys are going through this. We will keep you and your family in our thoughts.

  3. Cassie -

    Please email me. I have learned so much and would love to share it with you to help you navigate the maze. artisannvandyk at earthlink dot net.

    Hope to hear from you!



  4. "I also warned them...if their MO is just to deny a claim a hundred times and wait for the person to go away..." Actually, they are waiting for us to DIE! We have morphed from an asset to a liability.

    "The most upsetting thing is that this is taking energy that I need to fight my disease." Yep, I think that's why giving us so much sh*t is actually part of their strategy.

    In my case, the DieSuckah Health Insurance Co. actually strengthens my will to live, just to cost them as much as possible. ;D