Hi. My name is Jo, and I am totally demoralized.

Or not. It's been a rough week.

I talked to the friendly folks at the employee benefits office on Tuesday about the Ongoing Drama Of The Obturator. (For those of you coming in late, the prosthetic I wear to replace my palate/protect my airway/allow me to eat, drink and talk was not paid for by insurance. Given that the whole process cost as much as a new car [Hyundai, not Mercedes], I was a little peeved by that, especially given that the insurance company [Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Texas] first denied that it was medically necessary, then failed to follow their own rules on covering prosthetics.)

So I appealed, all the way to the Office of Employee Benefits. Beloved Sister and I worked up and sent a multi-page appeal letter complete with charts, diagrams, copies of reciepts, photographs of my mouth post-Harrowing, and ninety other things. The nice folks from the OEB asked me to send them a couple of additional pieces of paperwork, which I did. . .and I waited. They told me the whole kit and kaboodle had gone to some doctor who reviews things like this for them, so I waited.

And waited. I had no idea how long it would take for said doctor, who probably has a desk full of appeals, to get his head around mine.

So, when I called on Tuesday, I was expecting that things might not be fresh in the OEB's hivemind, given that the submission date for my appeal was back in March. I was not expecting them to tell me that the case had been closed for lack of documentation.

Well, to be more exact, first they told me that there wasn't anything there. Then they told me that yes, they'd found the file, but it'd been closed for lack of documentation.

Now: given the eight-page letter (with charts, diagrams, and circles and Xes on the back) and the two times I faxed the same information to my contact at the OEB, this was not what I was expecting. The nice contact at the OEB told me it would take her a couple of days to get everything together (right after she told me that everything was printed out and gathered up) for her boss to look at, so he could decide what was going on. So I told her I'd be calling her first thing Friday morning.

I am, to be nice about it, gob-fucking-smacked at this whole thing. I mean, I understand if they deny the appeal. Even though BCBSTX claims to reimburse non-network providers of prosthetics at 60% of cost, and even though they claim to reimburse at standard market rates (manifestly untrue; they actually reimburse less than Medicare or any other provider), I can see that they could finagle a way to deny my claim. That is, after all, their business.

Let me be a little more clear for you: The purpose of an insurance company is not to leverage your premiums into providing efficient, quality care for you. The purpose of an insurance company is to make money for their shareholders.

However, going back to the OEB: the University of Texas is a huge system, with many, many employees. The Office of Employee Benefits is, by necessity, the sort of bureaucracy that can handle that volume of employees. You would think that they could, at some point, have sent me a letter--not a certified letter or a wax-sealed scroll via elephant, just a letter--to tell me that they'd closed my file because I hadn't submitted some document or another.

Or, alternatively, they could've contacted me at the address, two telephone numbers, or email address that they had to let me know they needed more paperwork.

But they didn't.

Somewhere, somebody fucked up. I intend to find out who it was, and make them figure out how to fix it.

At first I was coldly enraged. I told Beloved Sis that the noise she was hearing was the sound of the bolts that hold Hell down shearing loose. Then I spent two days feeling horribly sick and depressed and stressed out. It's amazing how canalized anxiety becomes in the body.

Now I'm just peevish and determined.

Peevish. And determined. Very determined.