Posts Tagged ‘ health care ’

The #1 Time Suck of Parenting A Child With Special Needs: Listen Up, Insurance Companies!

Thursday, September 27th, 2012

On average, people spend 7 minutes a day waiting for a cup of coffee, 20 minutes a day in traffic, 20 minutes a day waiting for the bus or train and 43 minutes waiting each time they go to the doctor, reports a new Timex survey. In another survey of 3,230 women by Real Simple and the Families and Work Institute, all mothers polled said they spent more than 14 hours a week on child care; 52 percent have less than 90 minutes of free time a day, and 29 percent had less than 45 minutes of time to themselves a day.

Wow. Considering all that, it is amazing that parents of kids with special needs are able to even sleep. Free time? HA HA HA. Also: HA HA HA HA HA. Even after the kids are asleep at night, I am typically filling out forms, Googling information or apps that could help Max, emailing back and forth with his therapists and teachers, you name it. Some days, taking a bathroom break feels like a treat.

I am raising two kids, one who has no particular special needs (other than an occasional ‘tude) and one who has cerebral palsy, and so I know full well how much actual “time” each one takes. The truth is, everything with Max takes more time, from dressing to doing homework to taking a bath. That’s just the way it is—I’m not complaining. Then there’s the time I spend throughout the year taking Max to therapists or special doctor appointments. I’m not griping about that, either: I will do anything and everything I can to enable Max and help him succeed in this world. In the end, the most significant time suck of all is my dealings with the insurance company. And, oh yes, I AM GRIPING ABOUT THAT.

It’s not that a call with an insurance company necessarily takes more time than, say, driving Max to the speech therapist (although I’ve spent as long as an hour on the phone with reps). It’s just that the calls themselves are particularly sucky time sucks because I’m usually calling about yet another claim that has mysteriously gone unpaid, though I have sent in all the required paperwork. Or I’m calling about an appeal that has gone unaddressed. These calls have the tendency to suck the life right out of you.

Typical conversation with an insurance company representative:

Me: “I sent in that information two months ago.”

Rep: “Let me check. Do you mind holding?”

Me: “OK.”

[Insert 10 minutes of not-at-all-relaxing Muzak]

Rep: “Hello. You’re right, that information was in the system.”

Me: “So why did I get a letter stating the information needed to be sent in?”

Rep: “I apologize, ma’am, I’m not sure.”

[Clonk clonk clonk: sound of me banging head against the wall.]

Years ago, when I was with a different insurance company, they assigned a case manager to our family at my request. That meant I had just one person who was familiar with Max’s history, one person to call when I ran into issues, one person who was basically on top of everything.

With our current insurance company I was told that, no, there is no way to assign us one dedicated claims specialist.

Sigh. There oughta be a law. As the mom of a child with special needs, I have so, so, so many demands on my time. (Did I mention I have so many demands on my time?!). It would make my life far easier to have a dedicated claims specialist. I suspect it would also streamline things on the insurance company’s end, too.

Are you listening, insurance companies?

Now you’ll have to excuse me; I’m off to treat myself to a deep breath.

From my other blog: 

Why is it so hard to find a place of worship that welcomes kids with special needs?

Max walks up the stairs by himself for the first time: the video

A Bill of Rights for Parents of Kids With Special Needs

Image of woman with alarm clock on head via Shutterstock

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