Archive for June 10th, 2009

Lost in Automation

Wednesday, June 10th, 2009

I am on medication for high blood pressure. My insurance company pays part of the cost for this medicine, and that’s nice. They also send me fliers and magazines and emails about wellness, which include ideas on lowering blood pressure without medicine-smart, since if I quit taking it, they won’t be paying for it. I have a suggestion to help them with this endeavor. HIRE AN OPERATOR!

Yes, today I called my insurance company. The woman who answered the phone had a fairly pleasant voice with a flat mid-western accent. She greeted me nicely and asked if I was a provider or a patient. That’s when my blood pressure started to rise. I REFUSE to speak to a computer as if it were a real person. Sorry, I’m not going to do it. If a computer is going to answer the phone and route my call, it should be easy to tell by the “press one” list that the company is saving money by not hiring a real person to do this job (and thank you for not hiring India.) See, I also called my cellphone company today, and while I hate their menus and “press one” instructions, at least I don’t feel like an idiot. Talking to the nice fake lady makes me feel like a freak. (And no, she won’t let me bypass her questions by pressing zero. She is a tyrant.)

Once, after ranting to the poor woman who finally answered the phone, I found out that each choice the fake lady gives has a corresponding number on your phone, so yes is one, no is two, and in a list of choices, just count each one and press the number. So I no longer speak to the fake lady, ever. But there is also no “undo” among the choices, so every mistake means beginning again (para espanol, el prima DOS.)

So my health suffers a little more each time I’m forced to speak to my insurance company. My blood pressure is higher, my stroke risk soars. But that’s what insurance is for.