San Ramon, California
June 21, 2012
Dear Anthem Blue Cross:I know our relationship must be very difficult for you now that I have been diagnosed with cancer. I apologize, as it is never fun to have the rug pulled out from under you. For over 15 years, I was predictable, which made for a good relationship. I paid my premiums every month, on time and I seldom asked anything of you in return. I even exercised regularly and never smoked, just as you wished for. I was healthy, and you were happy. I never complained even though each year without fail, you raised my rates. At one point, I was paying over $430 per month just to be with you. Some months I had to choose between you and extra food on the table, but you were always more important to me.
As the years went by I became weary and struggled to keep you in my life, so I chose the only option I felt I had which was to minimize my payments to you, ultimately maximizing my own debt, should God forbid I fall ill. You reduced my payment to $250 per month, and I in turn accepted an $8,900 deductible per year. We had an agreement.
Last year, the cancer struck. I was scared. I didn’t know if I would live, or die, or how I would pay my bills or keep you in my life. You say you are there, I hear your advertisements, and I believe you. But today I found out, you are not, and you have never been. I am saddened, yet like a person stuck in an abusive relationship, I cannot let you go for fear of a future without hope that I might need you. I am dependant on you, yet I do not trust you.
Today I received your denial of a wig I purchased in the amount of $40.24. The wig is in cancer lingo known as a “scalp prosthesis” and I am allowed, in my relationship with you, to purchase up to $400 worth of wigs for medical purposes. Now I know that to some, that may seem like a lot of money, but after I realized that the average wig runs $250, I decided to purchase “cheap” wigs and be thrifty with your money. Unfortunately, none of your providers of prosthetics even carry wigs, and so you kindly told me I could go anywhere out of your providers to purchase them and receive full reimbursement, and so I did. I trusted you. Today, you changed your mind. You told me $40.24 was an unreasonable expense for a scalp prosthesis and that I went to a non-provider so you would not pay. I waited two months for reimbursement. You say one thing, and you do another, and I am left saddened by our relationship.
You also have a “nurse” that calls me every week to check on me, for my good of course; that’s what you say. But if you really cared, why did you wait until I met my $8,900 deductible to have her care enough to call? Why? After all I have been through, she never seems to remember if I have gone through chemo, or radiation, or surgery, and I have to refresh her memory every time, yet I am supposed to trust that she is calling because you care. She continuously asks me questions that I have already answered, like whether I've had cancer before or if my mother has ever had cancer. She wants me to share all of my experiences through this hell with her as I hear her taking notes through the phone, and yet she never seems to remember during the next conversation. Are you trying to find a reason to get rid of me, now that I am no longer a young, vibrant girl in good health?
I do not sleep well at night dear Anthem, because I have always been there for you, and now it’s your turn and I see you wanting to turn your back on me. I thought we had a commitment. I thought you cared. Please don’t drop me Anthem, I’ve been good to you and now, it’s your turn. Health insurance was not supposed to be this way.
The good news is, I will not drop you Anthem, even if I have to scrape to keep you in my life, because for me there simply is no other way.