and they wonder why I distrust some HMOs

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

I always try to look for the best in people. Even if sometimes it is hard, I try to look at their positives and ignore the negatives.

Lately, it's been especially harder to put a positive spin on certain people - notably the Personnel Manager at mom's office and the people running the HMO. It's almost two months since mom's passing and yet I am no where near wrapping up the discussions with the HMO (whose sister company, the educational plan is having difficulties), regarding their billing statement. I won't go into details, although I am sorely tempted to do some character assassination, but my mother didn't bring me up to be like that. I wouldn't want her to see that I've stooped so low. Yes I am near my boiling point, but I'm desperately trying to control it.

The main point of our dispute is the 30% discount given by the hospital to us, which the blasted HMO got because they said they have an agreement with the hospital that discounts go to the HMO. I disagreed because I asked the hospital about it and they said regardless whether we wer admitted as private paying patients or through an HMO, every patient gets a discount. There are other issues to resolve, but it all boils down to unfair practices and taking advantage.

I've been fighting them tooth and nail about it, and every person I spoke with at the office gave me excuses. I'd call the office and they'd say the person I was looking for was in a meeting, out of the office, stepped out for a while, on leave, etc. They told me all the excuses they could come up with, so that I won't be able to talk to the persons in charge. One time, an official of the HMO Company texted me to call her office. The person who answered the phone said she wasn't in her room. And I said at my best bitch mode, (coz I was almost at the end of my ropes that time), "You're telling me she's not in her room, when I just received an SMS from her, less than a minute ago, asking me to call her at her office?" The gay guy who answered said, "Ay, ganon po ba? Teka lang po titignan ko." He/she then covered the phone, as if telling another person that I am on the other end of the line. It was so obvious that the person I was supposed to talk to was there. Then he said, "Could you call back after 15 minutes, maybe she's in another part of the office?" Bitchy Jen said, "No thanks, I'll just wait for her, I know she's beside you." Then the person I was calling miraculously appeared and said, "Hi, sorry, I was just in another room." Yeah riiight. I wasn't born yesterday. I am not stupid and I will not fall for that line.

This morning, I received a fax from the Accounting Head of the HMO denying my claim, and explained why. If I didn't work for a multinational company and handled Employee Benefits, I would have fallen hook, line and sinker for their explanation. They came up with high-fallutin words meant to intimidate people. Fortunately I wasn't swayed coz, not to toot my own horn, I dealt with similar companies before. Yung mga kompanyang kung makakalusot, gagawa at gagawa ng paraan para makalusot. I hate that. If they could take advantage of people, they would.

So I called the Personnel Manager at mom's office and told her I wouldn't budge - that my claim stands. And she goes on to tell me in a whiney way, "So, what are we going to do now?" I saw red. I told her why she's asking me that, when in fact I should be the one asking her that same question. It was her job after all. And the company had been with the HMO for more than 15 years, dealing with her. Surely she has some leverage. And then she said she didn't know what to do. Susmaryosep! Ako pa nagsabi sa kanya kung ano ang dapat na argument nya with the HMO. How incompetent can she be? She's supposed to be the one dealing the HMO and here I was doing her job.

I called Executeive Vice President of mom's company, mom's immediate boss, to ask his advice on this matter (he's a laywer). And he told me that he needs to familiarize himself with the case first because the Personnel Manager is the one dealing with it, and that he'll call me back to discuss it. A few minutes after our conversation, the Personnel Manager called me and asked why I called the EVP. I told her I did because I wanted his opinion if I have a case, in the event my family and I decide to sue the HMO. Nataranta sha. I guess she didn't realize until then that I was seriously contemplating to sue the HMO, that I'd just meekly follow the HMO's decision. Or it could also be because the EVP scolded her. Hehehe... Buti nga sa kanya. See? I can be real bitchy if you push me to the limit.

The amount I am claiming may just be a small amount in their eyes, but it's not the amount I'm fighting for, but the principle. Who knows how many more people they've taken advantage of?

I will have a meeting with the EVP tomorrow and hopefully put an end to this matter.

I need to pray harder tonight. :)