“The cheque is in the mail” (sucker).

I hate insurance companies.  Insurance is a scam.  I’m letting my partner, who has the patience of a saint, deal with our pet insurance company.  We’ve never had someone say: “the cheque is in the mail,” and been lying, even though that’s the standard joke. 

Let’s back up a bit.  It all started on December 22nd when our dog Chica needed to have an MRI to make sure she didn’t have a brain tumour pressing on her optic nerves, since she has a seemingly rare bilateral eye condition, quite possibly Horner’s Syndrome.  This procedure was done at Canada West, an awesome emergency animal care facility.  Our dog had access to a neurologist and an internist that day.  Just as an aside, people living in Chilliwack have to go to Abbotsford to get an MRI, and usually there is an 18-month waiting period.  My dog was booked for an MRI within a couple of days.  My last wait to see a specialist was over three months.  I’ll leave it to you to debate the social and political ramifications of the differences between the public health system and high-tech veterinary medicine…

Needless to say, a canine MRI is not cheap because dogs do not naturally remain still when told to, and they thus have to be put under anaesthetic, which is an additional charge.  Thankfully, there was only a small pituitary tumour (Cushing’s Disease) and a couple of tiny anomolies in her brain which may or may not ever cause a problem.  We were prescribed some medication.  We left that day after having paid a bill in the thousands.  Canada West does not accept cheques or flimsy promises.  They do, however, take third-party VISA information over the phone!

Luckily, we thought, we’ve been paying $50 per month for years to provide our dog Chica with a pet insurance plan with maximum coverage.  We had only had to submit a claim once.  But now our dog is thirteen years old and has a few major health concerns, so that insurance will really pay off.  All the invoices were submitted to the insurance company within a couple of days. 

In early January we finally contacted the insurance company to enquire about the claim.  They were waiting for supervisory approval since the amount was so high.  We gave it another week or so and called again.  They told us that they had approved the claim (phew!) and were waiting for two signatures.  The cheque would arrive at the end of the following week.  End of the following week arrives, no cheque.  Another phone call.  “The cheque is in the mail.”  Next phone call, the cheque is still waiting for one signature.  Well, wait a minute, last time you said…so the cheque is not in the mail?  Let me see…that means you must have been LYING.  Now there is an apology and a guarantee that the cheque will be overnighted to us (thank goodness they hadn’t mailed it yet!?), and it should arrive by Tues.  Today is Tuesday.  I’m waiting.  Keep in mind, that with each phone call, one is put on hold for at least a half an hour.  So far, we have accumulated two hours of wasted time just waiting for someone to pick up.  And you can’t hold a mobile phone between your shoulder and your cheek and multi-task like you could with the old stationary phone.  In fact, trying to do so will result in a neck injury of some kind.  For which it might take months to get in to see a specialist.


4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Louise
    Jan 31, 2012 @ 22:37:47

    In fact, while I am spending all that time on hold, should I choose to use my mobile phone (which I am not), I might need an MRI for over-use of a mobile and have to wait three months. Hmmmmm…..


  2. Heather
    Feb 01, 2012 @ 16:09:21

    Did you get the cheque? if not, might be time to get Steele on your side! 😀


  3. sherylmcdougald
    Feb 03, 2012 @ 17:34:40

    Well, you could use the sometimes successful tactic of offering to put your experience online for all the world to Google and see if that helps? And if the suggestion doesn’t prompt action, the incident should be out there for other poor suckers to find if they look. Good lord.
    Maybe your vet will do my CCSVI procedure for me? I bet they could.


  4. Sandra
    Feb 03, 2012 @ 19:27:46

    Good point. Changing insurance companies is also an option, although they’re all cut from the same cloth. Speaking of the CCSVI procedure, I think the next episode of the Nature of Things is going to take a look at MS and this practice.


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