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Hate calling your insurance company? Read this and laugh (or weep)

The phone call from hell

Automated system: Thank you for calling Black-and-Blue Cross/Blue Squeal. Your call is important to us, which is why you will repeatedly be put on hold and then disconnected. Let's get started. Please choose from the following options:

If you are a provider, press or say "one." If you are a member, press two or say "good luck getting this issue resolved in less than three hours."

Caller: Two.

I'm sorry, I didn't get that. Did you say 37?

I said two. Two!

Did you say 22?

Can I please speak with an agent?

I'm sorry, I didn't get that. Thank You for Calling Black-and-Blue Cross/Blue Squeal. Your call is important...


... to us. If you're a provider...

For God's sake, can I just speak to a human being!

Yell all you want. I'm a voice automated system, I'm trained to ignore you in a calm, pleasant voice. If you are calling about your medical benefits, press or say "one." For prescription coverage, press or say two. For mental health benefits, also press or say two; you will need psychiatric medication by the time you're done with this call.

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For claims, press or say one. For incorrect benefit information, two. For authorization, call Machiavellian Behavioral Health at 1-800-666-6666. They will undoubtedly tell you to call us, and we will send you back to them. If you did not need a mental health professional to help with your anxiety before this call, you soon will.


I'll need a little more information so I can get you to the right person. Please enter the dates of service, the patient's name, ID number, date of birth, address, name of childhood pet and favorite color. Please note that none of this information will be passed along to the representative, who will ask you the same exact questions again.

(Enters information.)

Please enter your Social Security number. Please be assured that at Black-and-Blue Cross, assuring the safety of confidential information is job one. Well, making a profit is job one. Assuring confidentiality is job two. Well, finding loopholes in federal regulations is job two, but keeping your information private is right up there.

(Enters information. Winces at the beginning of tendinitis from overuse of index finger.)

Please hold while I check this claim. (Long silence.) I'm sorry. I don't have any claims on file for this member, even though you have submitted them three times now. I'll transfer you to a representative, but first, is there anything else I cannot help you with?


Did you say yes?


I'm sorry, I did not understand your response, so I will randomly end this call. You can check information about this claim any time on our website, If you would like to take a brief survey about your experiences with this call, press one. We value your feedback, and will do absolutely nothing with it. Thank you for calling Black-and-Blue Cross/Blue Squeal. (Click.)


Eric Sherman, L.C.S.W., is a psychotherapist, psychoanalyst, teacher and supervisor in private practice in New York City and in Montclair, New Jersey.


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