A breast cancer survivor shares her experiences with the BRCA gene.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Resolution! (other than the New Year's kind)

It's almost Christmas and I've encountered an angel. It's true!

Myriad Labs resolved my bill--they adjusted my balance to zero! Zip! Nothing!

Dear Ms Auton,

Thank you for your assistance in the appeal process. However, Myriad will stand by the quote that Blue Cross Blue Shield of GA gave us prior to the test. In your case, they quoted 100% coverage. If they do in fact deny your appeal, please forward that denial to Myriad and your account will be adjusted to $0.

If you have further questions, please don't hesitate to ask.

Sincerely, Patient Accounts
Myriad Genetic Laboratories

It's time like these in which you want to reach through the phone and kiss somebody!

So, my advice for all you breast cancer survivors whom I've been encouraging to get genetic testing: Make sure you get IN WRITING your insurance company's commitment to pay 100% of the service rendered.

Get it documented. Save the documentation. Get it signed in blood...that's what it takes for insurance companies to honor their word these days.

I've been told that insurers bank on most of us not challenging and fighting their lack of coverage. They figure we're too overwhelmed with other things...like our health.

Although it takes precious moments out of your life, staying on top of insurance companies' payments is critical. I've already spent thousands of dollars out of pocket on cancer, when I could have been vacationing in Alcapulco.

I told Myriad that although they erased my bill, I would continue pursuing payment from BCBS. It's only right that I help. Therefore, BCBS has not heard the last from me.

My next step is taking this to our HR benefits person, since we just renewed our BCBS contract for 2009. What BCBS doesn't know is that my company has a personal interest in breast cancer, and BRCA testing--since we're mostly female employees and the majority of our customers are women, as well.

Just like John Paul Jones, I have just begun to fight!

Take That!

It's not even New Year's, and I've already broken one of my New Year's resolutions. (#3--Show grace and kindness to everyone.)

I was less than gracious to the insurance company's customer service reps, who put me on hold for infinity, and found myriad (as in Myriad Lab) excuses as to why they couldn't and wouldn't pay my bill in full.

My friend, Pam, told me (as I was venting during our walk) that I needed to add a disclaimer to my "be nice to the world" resolution--exempting anyone who is "petty/vile/self-centered/manipulative."

That category needs to be dealt with swiftly and forcefully, without a trace of charm and sweetness. No siree.

If I had only known about the "disclaimer rule," I could have kept all my previous resolutions in years' past.