Friday, October 5, 2018

Insurance, Mobility Companies and my Sanity!

Why must our country have ridiculous insurance hoops that we must jump through? Why must it take months to receive an item approved by insurance? Why do people suddenly help you when you offer to pay out of pocket?

Brendan's wheelchair had a serious issue this past week. He came off the bus with a completely broken foot plate. Not only am I still extremely annoyed that I never received a phone call, text or email regarding his broken foot plate but I also couldn't get through to the mobility company. I never even got the full story about how it broke off even after asking multiple people. The only explanation I ever received was that "it just fell off". I don't think that is possible but since no one will tell me what happened in PE that day I guess I will never know.


So my son gets off the bus with his foot dangling and my husband immediately went into Macgyver mode. I called National Seating and Mobility immediately in order to get a replacement and of course there was no answer. The temporary fix didn't last long. Tape and metal don't mix well. Later that night my husband then grabbed an old foot plate from a stroller we do not use and strapped it on with duct tape. We thought it would hold for a while but he came home after one day in school with it hanging down. The tape couldn't hold up with the pressure of his foot.

Let me tell you how frustrating it is when you call a mobility place and never get through. I called 4 times and let it ring a million times. I even tried different extensions. I finally left a voicemail and of course never received a call back. I called the next day and finally someone answered. They wanted me to bring him in to look at it so they could order the part. They said there was no way a tech could come to us. I asked if they had the parts in stock and was told no "so you want me to drive my son there (40 minutes one way) so they can look at his chair and order a part"? I was less than thrilled. We ordered his wheelchair from this company. They have repaired it, ordered parts for it and should know every detail of his chair. Why couldn't someone just look in the computer and figure out what part to order?
Sensing my tone she changed her tune and told me I can send pictures to see if *Seth could see what part he needs to order. So moments later I send off 3 pictures. I was told they would get back to me in the morning.

Fast forward to the next day. I hate seeing my son not sitting properly in his wheelchair but I had to send him off to school anyway. I receive a text message from NSM stating they can order the part based on these pictures but have to go through insurance. I am instantly annoyed. Do you know how long it takes for insurance to approve something and then for you to actually receive it? Way too long on a very important piece of a wheelchair. She said it will go quicker since they don't need doctors approval. I think a day is too long never mind the 3 days it has already been. I asked if she could tell me the exact model of his wheelchair so we could just order the part ourselves. She told me if we go through another vendor they can no longer service his chair! Seriously?! The ONLY important thing right now is to get a part for my son's wheelchair. I text back asking if I could pay out of pocket so they could order the part so we could fix my son's wheelchair ASAP. I am not sure they understood that I wanted this fixed yesterday. She text that they could get me a price quote the next day. So we wait another day.

The next morning I receive a text and now all of the sudden they have the part in stock and I do not have to pay out of pocket or go through insurance. Seriously? It took days to get to this point. I am happy they have the part. This avoids a long waiting period but with that text said "if you can come today between now and 2 pm", UM Okay that is not possible. It is almost 10 am. My son is in school and I am at work. Just picking him up is a process. So at first I am offended because basically it reads that you can have the part for free if you come today. Fortunately they could also fit us in tomorrow at the most inconvenient time, 11 AM. So my kid got to skip school and he was happy as can be. We made our 40 minute commute one way for a 5 minute fix. It is definitely not the correct part but hey his foot plate is attached again and all is well.


It made me stop and think about how stuck we are using insurance. This was his first major issue. We are still waiting on multiple replacements on his wheelchair and I am used to that. I just deal with it. I do get annoyed especially when I was told today that they have no idea when the parts will be in and it has already been months. But this was an emergency and yet no one cared. No one said hey let's make this happen, what can we do to fix his wheelchair. They made this repair sound like it was nearly impossible to pull off in weeks never mind a few days. I still think it should have been repaired much faster. I can't even wrap my head around this idiotic process. I just wanted it fixed as soon as humanly possible and I guess that did happen but only because of me. What if it was a part that cost $1000's and I couldn't just offer to pay out of pocket. What happens to people with power wheelchairs that break and can't be fixed for months? What do they do without their chair working properly? Brendan doesn't have a back up. Even if we took the one from his dads' house he wouldn't be able to be transported to and from school which would make life very difficult. I just think there should be a better way. How long would it have taken if I didn't even think to pay for it instead of waiting for insurance. What if I thought there was no other option? What if I didn't speak up and just did everything they asked me to do, wasting two days to get one simple little part? Blows my mind the world we live in right now. The first thing *Seth said to me was "oh as soon as I heard you wanted to pay out of pocket I had to do something".
Thank you, I think?


I am really appreciative that they did fix it and that I am able to skip work for a few hours on a last minute notice. Not everyone can do that. Not everyone can say sure, I can come at 11 am tomorrow. If we couldn't have made that time we would be waiting until Tuesday! Just mail me the part and I will fix it myself! Something needs to change.


1 comment:

kawaiimakay said...

please don't lose your sanity before all the kids are out of the house, mom.