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Name: margalit
Location: Massachusetts, United States Professional writer, educational advocate, opinionated ultra liberal mother of 18 year old twins, living life in the slow lane due to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, congestive heart failure, and diabetes.

email: margalitc at yahoo dot com

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Thursday, December 11, 2008

It's not me, it's you, Mass Health

My parent partner meeting was this morning, and as we sat talking about all sorts of topics, we both had the same experience last night of trying to pick up a prescription at the pharmacy, using our brand new insurance cards that Mass Health had sent us, and being denied the prescription because the phone system at Mass Health would not accept the card.

So we got on phones, me on the land line, her on the cell, and phoned Mass Health to try and decipher what exactly the problem was. Her wait time was 8-9 minutes, mine was 9-12 minutes. We both loathe calling Mass Health because it's the most frustrating experience ever, every single time you call them. We're both sitting on hold, cracking up at how ridiculous this was, when I finally got a customer service rep. Her first words to me? "Hold on for a second." Now if that doesn't make you feel all cozy and loved, I don't now what would. Then there was a noise that sounded like crackling cellophane before the service rep came back.

First I asked her about the new cards. Why weren't they working? She told me that they wouldn't work until January. But... when the cards arrived in the mail they said to destroy the old cards and to replace them with the new cards. Being well behaved, both of us had done exactly what they had said in the letter. The letter that forgot to tell us that the cards are only good starting Jan 1. OY!

Then I asked her why the automated system wouldn't take the number on the new card. Because you're supposed to use your social security number, even though the voice mail asks for the new number. OK. That makes no sense either, but we're still being polite.

Next I ask her why the Boy got a new card but the Girl did not. She told me that they are sending out the cards arbitrarily and that some people have gotten them while some have not. Now this seems to be particularly nuts, but still... I'm willing to accept this as part of the Mass Health totally bizarro organizational skillage.

So then I ask her how I'm supposed to pick up my son's prescriptions if I don't have the right card, the pharmacy was unable to get in touch with them because they kept entering the number on the new card, the only card they had, and the automated phone system asks for the new number and not the old number, which the pharmacy had already deleted. She gives me a second phone number to call to find out what the old number is.

Problem is, I don't think I've got the mental strength to deal with a second bout of Mass Health insanity. I honestly do not get why they are so horrid to deal with, but at least I know it's not just me. Everyone hates dealing with them. They're disorganized, crazy, and the most wasteful agency in our state. They spend more money on letters that say next to nothing and are often completely incorrect that you would believe. Every communique from them comes with two letters that say the exact same thing (one per child, I believe) plus a form on how to translate the letter into a variety of languages.

Now that Mass Health is part of the Massachusetts required health care, you would think they would be better run. But nope, that's not happening. They get worse and worse.

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