A temporary rant to BCBSNC

“There must be a better way.” That is how I ended my call from Blue Cross/Blue Shield of NC this morning. Having been parent caregiver for 14 years, I’ve come to know quite a few families on this path. Many of those families are doing the same we did…our children have Medicaid (some medicare). They have nothing. No assets. If they owned a car it was crumpled into an unrecognizable shape in the accident causing the traumatic brain injury.

Many of us come to the quick realization that Medicaid is great, but private insurance is better. Between the two we are able to meet most of our loved ones’ needs.

There are rough spots, however. Coordinating benefits, navigating changing and divided networks…obtaining life sustaining equipment and services that are out of network, but covered only by private insurance. It’s this last that brings me here.

A year since Sam passed (eleven months to the day, but who’s counting), and the last remaining bill has been appealed, negotiated, and paid. Since the equipment provider is out of network, the checks from BC/BSNC come to us, where we deposit and issue a check to providers.

This check was different. It was made out to “the Estate of…” We cannot deposit it. Our instructions? Go to the county where the death certificate was issued. Hire an attorney. Hire a court appointed executor. Obtain a tax ID. Open an estate account. (mentioning here we are retired, Sam had nothing. His expenses were far greater than his disability from social security). Deposit this single, solitary check for a couple thousand dollars. There was some question of probate… Have executor issue a check to the provider. Close said account.

I understand the vendor contract issue. I do. But this is different. This is the final payment. We are trying to make everyone whole, and close out the account. Due to mistakes on the part of BCBS (mistakes resulting in denial, mistakes in not covering the rental as ‘negotiated in network rate’) payment was delayed nearly a year.

There IS NO estate. There IS NO account. I do have some nuts and bolts from Sam’s wheelchair that I found on a windowsill, and an extra trach tube I kept in the van.

What I need is for BlueCross/BlueShield NC to pay the provider. Please. And I need my parent/caregiver friends to read this and plan ahead for life’s eventual heartbreaks.