Why is it when I’m forced to deal with insurance companies I end up wanting to throw myself off a bridge? Truly they are the most frustrating entities to try to conduct business with. As I wrote some blogs back, I spent five days in the hospital the beginning of January. I was conveyed there in the back of an ambulance. Before the IV was inserted, and in between my making excellent use of the provided handy-dandy disposable vomit bag (which, by the way, bills out at the price of a whole Maine lobster and a nice bottle of wine), I was asked for my insurance information. Some weeks after I was released, the invoice for my ride arrived. The cost of my trip with no champagne or soft music to ease the blow came to $2,200.00. I feel I need to see a new pair of shoes, or at the very least a cigarette, out of that.
Such as it is, I have insurance for such occasions. Once I satisfy my co-pay, which hovers on the precipice of the national debt, in a perfect world my insurance should kick in and manage the remainder of my bill. “Should” and “perfect world” being the optimum words here. First, I began fielding calls from various doctor’s offices involved in my treatment advising me my insurance company said I was not, in fact, covered at the time of treatment. Fortunately, I have paper work indicating my insurance company is full of cotton swabs. It took many long phone conversations between doctor’s offices and my insurance company and much streaming elevator music to finally get that kettle of horse patoot in order. Yea.
Once it was established I was insured, the second round of calls saying I hadn’t satisfied my co-pay began. Claims understandably could not be honored until this was done. In truth, a check had been mailed immediately on my arrival home so this news precipitated a number of calls on my part to the hospital billing department in search of answers as to its whereabouts. According to my contact at the hospital my check was never received. Really? Not wanting to chance mailing yet another check I paid the co-pay on a credit card. Following that conversation I instructed the bank to put a stop on the lost check and paid $30 for the opportunity of doing business with them. In a later conversation with the hospital billing office I was told the check arrived several days later having been routed to the wrong person in the billing office by their mail department. The person it was delivered to was an employee on maternity leave and thus it sat in her in-box until discovered by a temporary employee covering her desk. I do not recall at this writing the part of the conversation addressing the hospital offering to reimburse me the $30 I’d paid to cancel the check, but some days I sit on the floor and cut up my money purely for entertainment, so what the heck.
Not long after straightening out all the co-pay mess, I received a phone call from the billing office for the ambulance company saying my insurance company had informed them as well I was not insured during that time period. Sometimes I could sit and scream without stopping. Dialing the insurance company number now on my speed dial , I listened to their phone system prompts for the twentieth time that month. This, I might add could push you off the bridge as well. “Please say your ID number”. I do. “I’m sorry I cannot understand you”, the scripted response. Please say your ID number”. I do, again. “Why are you calling?” I reply, “customer service” to which the response is “I’m sorry I cannot understand you, I’ll connect you to a representative”. Now, I just recite the Pledge of Allegiance yielding the same result. Yesterday I accidentally pushed 2 instead of 1 and listened to the entire message in Spanish. I liked it much better because I couldn’t understand one word they were saying. This was comforting.
At last I got an insurance rep and explained my dilemma ad nauseam. I’m thinking of making a movie out of it somewhere down the road. After I was done the rep set up a conference call with the ambulance company and straightened out the facts first that I was insured, and secondly had satisfied my co-pay. Life, as they say, was good.
Today I got yet another call from the billing office for the ambulance company informing me they had invoiced my insurance company and were sorry to say I was not covered during that time period. Once again I called my insurance company opting for English this time as I wanted to be understood. Following a brief discussion I was instructed to call the ambulance billing person back and tell her to reinvoice my insurance. I did. She informed me that they couldn’t reinvoice because they’d already invoiced twice and their system wasn’t set up to do it a third time. Can you feel your blood pressure rising or is that simply an illusion?
At that point I was losing my well-known sense of humor. My voice elevating, I was handed off like a hot charcoal to someone in another division. Actually, this woman was helpful. I explained to her I had no intention of paying $2,200 out-of-pocket when I paid for insurance to do exactly that. Further I could not bill on their behalf because I do not collect a paycheck from their company and don’t plan on applying for employment there in the near future. Digging deeper I suggested if they planned to put a big “0” next to my account anytime soon they needed to deal with my insurance company or were going to find themselves seriously disappointed. In the end they saw the wisdom of such logic. I’m sure tomorrow I will find another call on my answering machine.
One thing I’ve noticed is if you are late on your insurance payment, or God forbid have to submit a claim, the insurance company will exact their pound of flesh with great expediency, but if they owe you money you wouldn’t want to hold your breath waiting to see their logo on an envelope in your mailbox. Anyhow, that’s Susie’s gripe of the day.
I really liked this dish. Light and tasty although fried. I used grapeseed oil rather than a heavier oil and the chicken strips were moist and crunchy.
Japanese Crusted Chicken Strips with Onion Sauce and Sticky Rice
1 cup long grain rice
2 cups water
2 scallions, sliced thin on the diagonal
Place in small saucepan and cover with cold water. Allow to sit on counter for at least one hour. Rinse well again and return to pot. Add two cups of cold water. Bring to boil. Cover and simmer for 20 mins. Remove from heat and allow to sit for 10 mins. Add scallions and fluff rice with fork. Serve hot. Serves 4.
Japanese Crusted Chicken Strips with Onion Sauce
2 medium yellow onions, sliced thin
1 14 1/2 oz. can low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup Mirin wine
1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. ground ginger
1 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 tsp. sesame oil
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
2 tsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice (I used Myer)
1/2 tsp. lemon zest
Mix all ingredients together in medium saucepan. Bring to boil over med-high heat.
Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 25 mins. Remove from heat and either refrigerate and reheat at time to serving or keep warm.
Japanese Crunchy Chicken Strips
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, sliced in half lengthwise and pounded
3 eggs, beaten
1 Tbsp. water
1/2 cup flour
3/4 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. lemon pepper
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 1/2 cups Panko bread crumbs
4 Tbsp. grapeseed oil, divided
Slice chicken breasts in half lengthwise. Pound to 1/2″ thickness.
Mix together flour, salt, black pepper, lemon pepper and kosher salt. Dredge chicken until well coated on both sides.
Beat eggs and 1 Tbsp. water together in shallow dish. Dip chicken breasts in egg mixture allowing excess to run off.
In third shallow dish put 1 1/2 cups of Panko bread crumbs. Place chicken in this dish last coating well.
In large skillet heat 2 Tbsp. of grapeseed oil until shimmering. Add two cutlets to the pan and cook until golden brown on both sides until juices run clear and chicken is thoroughly cooked. Remove to warmed plate. Add last 2 Tbsp. of oil to pan and second batch and repeat the process. Slice chicken into strips.
Serve over hot onion sauce with sticky rice.