Anything and everything under the sun


Friday, May 15, 2009

Kaiser Still Sucks Big Time

Remember my earlier post here on how bad Kaiser's service is? Well, here I am, 2 effing years later and still going through this shit.

If you are new here, please do check my earlier post first to get the 'feel' of the situation. You know? Of how fuckingtastic the health services in the US is in general and Kaiser's services in particular?

Firstly, let me tell you that all the doctors that I have seen at Kaiser are pretty good. I have nothing against them. But they are 'just' doctors there. They see you once you get the appointment. They are not part of the scheduling system. The system is created so that you almost always talk to a different people. Send and reply to an email 5 times, you will be replied by 5 different people.

Anyways, I went to get my papsmear done on Tue and also to get the referral for infertility treatment. When asked by my family doctor, I admitted that Michael is a smoker. I was told to call the member service (1-888 number) to make and appointment. Called and was given a 'direct number' that I have to call for the said appointment which I did. Actually I have been calling that number for god-knows how many times prior to that and have left numerous messages. Not one call was answered and not one message returned. My call that day was no different. No one answered so I left a voicemail leaving all my contact details and such.

That evening I called the member services (1-888 number) again and that was when I found out that my referral has been cancelled by my doctor. Imagine my shock! Stress Level 6. So I immediately emailed my doctor to find out what is going on. It was around 3pm then so I didn't get any reply until the next morning. Guess what she said? My referral was cancelled by the Infertility Department, you know the one who didn't answer nor return any of my calls. And the reason given to my doctor was that Michael is a smoker. Basically, they are saying (through my doctor) that since Michael is a smoker, they are denying me a treatment! Stress Level 10! The best part is, I found out from another Kaiser member that she and her husband were smokers but they went through their treatment with no problem. Can I say, I smell DISCRIMINATION here? Yes my friends, Kaiser Permenante is discriminating us.

But my nightmare is not over yet. Just now I called member service again to make an appointment for Michael to do his sperm count. Before that let me get this straight.

1. I am a patient = We are paying monthly to Kaiser even if we dont see them and still paying when we do see the doctor.
2. Member service = works with Kaiser therefore knows what to do. (shouldn't they?)

So I told the bitchy didn't-get-serviced-last-night member service that I want to schedule an appointment for Michael to do sperm count. Then she told me that ok she has put in the request for the test and the doctor will decide if Michael needs to see a doctor or can just take the test (or something to that effect). Then I said, so he doesn't need an appointment to do the sperm count? The bitch then flipped on me telling me that I didn't ask for an appointment and that if I need an appointment she can schedule it now in a tone that deserved a bitch-slap. Like ..... WHAT. THE. FUCK?????

At that point my blood is already boiling but I keep reminding myself that in the US you can't curse or scream or maki them eventhough they are fucking rude and/or fucking stupid. (That is why we have fucking stupid people like her still earning thousand of dollars using high premium that people like us are paying monthly) I took a (very)deep breath and slowly said to her, "You just told me that you have put in the request for my husband and that the doctor will decide if he needs to see a doctor or can take the test without seeing one. Why are you asking me if I need an appointment?". Still with a patronising and rude tone, she said that I asked for a test not an appointment. To which I repeated what I said earlier and yet she continued on and on about a test and an appointment. I have no freaking idea what she was talking about. Does any of you understand what she was talking about? Stress Level ~

If Michael only needs to do a test without seeing a doctor, doesn't that mean that he needs an appointment date for that? Is making an appointment for a test is not an 'appointment'? Don't be rude to me because I have no fucking idea about the terminology and/or jargons that you are using for each and every procedures or if I am using the 'wrong' word for the 'wrong' procedures. By the way, the call was made today around 2.30pm pacific time.


Anonymous said...

Omigoodness! What you're going through sounds like a total nightmare! Do you really have to go through Kaiser? Can't you go to another service? Sorry, stupid questions. I've no idea what's the health service is like over there in US (though I know how notoriously bad it is). Over here, everything's under the National Health Services (NHS) - it's basically one system.

I hope it's sorted out for you soon. Tbh even reading your blog post about your experience with that ignorant bitch over the phone is enough to get my blood boiling also. It's really too bad you can't yell at them over the phone. The same law applies over here too regarding abuse. I've not encountered any rude/unhelpful health employees yet.

Tak boleh pergi buat complaint ke?

ICook4Fun said...

Farina, I know your frustration. I've been there before. It took me exactly a year to solved a claim problem with my insurance. My blood pressure goes up each month when I still receiving statement from the billing company. The call will go back and fort from the billing company to the insurance company every month. I was so fed-up with it and finally it got settle after a year!

Anonymous said...

Hmmm I just Googled. Seems Kaiser has many controversies regarding their management and a lot of people have the same experiences as yours (I'm sure I'm not telling you anything new here). Kaiser's also featured prominently on "Sicko".


Nightwing said...

So sorry that u had to go through this.

Can;t u change place? Are they the best in what they do?

This kind of thing memang test your patience. Really hope it is not any form of discrimination.

All the best now. And it is good that u blow off steam here. Better then bottled it up.

Take it easy now..and show them that u r a better person then those ding dongs there.

Dalam Dakapan Ibu said...

Aiyoo! Sakit Jiwa BIG TIME! I baca pun naik geram! And I thought US has the best Customer Service!

I've no idea what to say to you... other than I hope you'll get the best treatment there is after this.

Take care dear :)

Daphne Ling said...

Hi Kak Farina,

Ish...You're PAYING them monthly? Apa macam ni? Obviously I missed the posting about the effing Kaiser.

One thing I'm thankful here in Canada is the healthcare. Yes, we have that stupid thing called the answering machine too (which means people also never seem to want to pick up), but the healthcare IS good...

Even to foreigners (we pay insurance of like $770 a year--it covers doctor's visits, emergency room fees, ambulance (80%), lab and imaging fees)!

Hope everything works out soon...


PS: Don't stress stress ok?

Ida Hariati Hashim said...

OMG Farina, I am sorry to hear this. But then, every cloud has a silver lining, everything will be OK for u.

Jgn tension tension ye..

Cat Cat said...

Sabar girlfriend. I too, do not like to talk to 1-800 people. Dia orang ni pemalas & sombong nak mampus!

Julie Lim said...

Kaiser sounds like they need a good slap and thorough whipping. And to think that you're paying hard earned money for these kind of shitty services!

Can you go to other hospitals or whatchamacallit in the US?

Anonymous said...

Farina, this is from our personal experience. We are insured through Kaiser California too. Infertility treatment is not mandated by CA law to be covered. And Kaiser doesn't pay for the treatment. You might want to get referral from your Kaiser doctor to outside network clinic. The waiting list might be shorter too.


Barbara said...

Hey Farina,

Bad communication in this hospital.
Already on the receptionist level, it sucks ( what kind of treatment is this ?)

It's a terrible shame to pay good money for treatment and get this type of service.

I know that it's not easy to change providers there either... So don't hesitate to complain to the Hospital Director's office after bad treatment.

Yeah; it may not be much, but you are not just a number!!

Hugs xx

Salt N Turmeric said...

Munira, i cant go to other hospital since our insurance is for kaiser only. Memang nightmare dealing dgn orang2 bodoh kat sini. Film sicko tu memang kisah benar kat sini. Sbb tu health insurance kat US kaya.

Gert, kesian u. Memang as long as you're dealing w them, must always be alert. Cant simply lepas tangan since they will find ways to take advantage of you.

NW, with the plan tht we have, we'r stuck with them until wht they call 'open season' whc is ard oct-nov then only you can change your insurance.

Kak Ja, best customer service? hahahahhaha. I tell you, in Msia kalau dpt stupid/rude ppl like that we can simply yell and demand to speak to the manager and they will do something abt it. Here, jgn harap! lagipun how to complain kalau complain kena go thru the same 'member service' line?

Daphne, yes here is not like Msia or Canada. There's monthly premium and then everytime u see a doc, there's a 'co-pay' whc varies according to your plan. Ours is 30 just to see a doctor or whomever is there. Medication in under diff insurance so another premium and still have to pay when u get something fr the pharmacy.

Ida, im not sure and after 2 yrs have yet to see any silver lining pun. Health insurance is too profitable as it is now for them to change for the better.

Cath, yelah dealing w 1-800 ppl for normal stuff is easy but if you want more than normal memang nightmare!

Julie, im still not familiar w the system here but wht i do know is tht w our plan, we can only go to kaiser. I was told tht to get somewhat a 'freedom' gotta get ppo plan and pay more for it. Its all about MONEY.

J, actually thru our plan, we are covered 50%, if we get the treatment. Problem now is they dont want to see us and even cancelled the referral that we got whc we have to pay a co-pay and see a doctor to get it from without even telling us. If you dont mind, pls do email me.

Barbara, i dont see any point. When i asked my doc abt the cancelled referral, all she can say is tht she was informed by the dept that it was cancelled because michael is a smoker. And its either he quit or no go. There's nothing else that she can do and she doent know what else to do anyway. Its so sad when human being act like a robot. :(

Kerp (Ph.D) said...

that bad huh? and here we always hear people whines about the bad services in general hospital. infact, reading this piece makes HKL look like a 5-star hotel!

Naz said...

OMG! That's really horrible. I baca your entry pun dah penat. Can imagine you going through the whole thing....yikes!
Here it is only the first 1500KR that we have to pay (annually), whatever that comes after that (consultations, operations, follow ups)is covered by the govt. We only pay for the medications.
I hope things will work out for you. Insyallah.

Desert Rose said...


Oh dear , kesiannye u??? Why does it sound like govnt hospital in Malaysia je ...welll darling kot susah sangat, come back n do it here la, we have berduyun good gynae n good fertility clinic yg tak kuang ajaq n discriminate patient suke ati dia gitu. And cheaper kot compared to the State.
So much for US of A katanya....
Anyway, u be strong, please take good care of yourself, n calm ok. Buat naik darah u je layan org bodo mcm tu.

p/s : I dah dapat my payment for the car, itupun after several unanswered calls n texts, until I threat nak buat police report sebab tipu, then only the son reply, n much later d mother. Some people really have d nerve to do such bad things unto others kan. Like ur case here, sabar jelah.

Anonymous said...

Oh yes. I've heard how the infamous US healthcare system can really strip you off your life savings because of their management, greed and insurance premium. I don't think it's discrimination. A lot of ppl go through the kind of shit you're currently experiencing. The only gripe I have about the NHS here is their appointment-based system - which is both good and bad. But like I've said, I've yet to experience anything bad so I can't complaint. It's very systematic.

On the other hand, to be quite frank, I think healthcare system kat mana-mana pun sama serumpun je, baik Malaysia mahupun USA. It's not the doctors, mind, but I guess it's the greedy people on the hospital board and involved in this whole insurance scheme yang usually haloba. Basically sesiapa la who stand to gain big profit from the suffering and waiting patients who don't have the kind of opportunity to move themselves up the waiting list.

Just hang in there. *hugs*

*** I'm not kutuking Americans... I got this from a couple of friends who are Americans themselves :)

Mama Nabi said...

Hm. I wonder if knowing someone in the system helps to get a referral... a lot of my bloggy friends seem to be with KP. SO SORRY!!! I didn't even know this was going on (there's something bizarre going on with my blogline feeds... sigh.)

mº¿ºsh, brecht and nora said...

dearest farina
i truly feel for you, i shall pray that somehow someone will help both you and Micheal to see a doc or get some test done, the whole thing just seems so frustrating, everything just goes round and round! goodness me babe, u'll get a heart-attack first before getting an appointment! good luck, and i hope u feel better babe....i truly wish i could do something to help... like wave a magic wand or something.... hugs

Sri said...

Poor thing. I agree, change insurance in Oct/Nov if it's not settled by then.
I thought I had it bad with the military insurance ....

Anonymous said...

Next time if you have a stupid operator (that's who she is)- ask to speak with a supervisor. I avoid Kaiser altogether - the admin made it impossible to get any service, that's what I hear! Good luck.

Farizah in SD

Anonymous said...

dear farina,
i don't know whether this will help u or not but do surf this add , try la mana tahu ada rezeki

ciao babe

Anonymous said...

sorry, it's

Lyana Mauseth said...

kak farina,

naik juling mata i baca ni..dah baca naik darah pulak...dasyat le...ish sabarrrrr ajelah kan...hope everything will turn out right, insyallah.