Opinion | Biff America: Toughen up buttercup
Believe me, I not the type of guy who likes to complain (on Monday nights, between 10:45 and midnight). But seeing I have an hour to go before that time, here goes.
Now, granted most of these are admittedly first world problems. Actually all of them are, but cut me some slack, I live in the first world.
When I’m not grumbling in-person to my in-town friends about how hard my life is, I can be found on my iPhone complaining to folks who live out of state. Since no one seems to be picking up their phones lately, I’m forced to write them complaining e-mails on my tablet or laptop. When they don’t get back to me I take the hint that perhaps all their electric devices were destroyed in a fire. That’s when I pick up my Kindle and read a self-help book.
That brings me to my first complaint.
Why does seemingly every electronic device require a different charging cord? Even different products from the same company have unique charging cords. Actually, I’m not talking about the cords, rather than the shape of the little hole that the cord plugs in to.
I can hear some of you saying, “Toughen up buttercup, there are folks with real problems, even in this country.”
OK, then how about this? We don’t have a TV at the old Biff America compound. So, when we stay at a motel or B&B, in addition to the round vibrating bed, we love having a TV in our room so we can watch “The real housewives of Alma.”
Now granted the last TV we owned only had 13 channels. But for the love of Mary, Joseph and their donkey, what’s the deal with these remote controls that looks like the dashboard of a fighter jet? All I need is on, off, channel up or down, volume up or down, and a mute button for when the erectile dysfunction ads play.
Do we really need a remote control that requires you to read an owner’s manual just to watch reruns of the “Golden Girls”?
I’m sure some might find remotes with 50 different buttons easy to understand, but those are the same tech-weenies who are able to adjust the clocks in their cars during daylight saving time.
Another one: The shop I’ve brought all my vehicles for years has changed hands so I needed to find a new place to service my truck. I needed the 60,000-mile maintenance done, oil change, tire rotation and my front brakes sounded like Yoko Ono singing.
A friend recommended this place, so I made an appointment and brought my truck in. I told them what I thought I needed but said if they noticed anything else they should let me know. About five hours later I got a call where they gave me an estimate and told me to check my e-mail for a written one. I can’t say it was cheap, but it needed to be done so I said to do the work. The next day I picked up my truck and paid them the amount that was on the estimate.
So here’s my complaint. Why, in God’s name, can’t hospitals and insurance companies do the same thing? I don’t know anyone who has had a major (or minor) surgery who has not had a nightmare of provider vs. insurance wars.
Here what should happen: Your doctor tells you need, let’s say, your gall bladder removed. The hospital calls the insurance company, tells them you need a gall bladder removed and ask them how much is covered. The insurance company looks at your coverage, deductible, out-of-pocket maximum, and tells both you and your provider how much you will owe. Then, when you go in, you pay that amount, get your gall removed, and be done with it. Instead, weeks after arriving home with your gall in a jar on a shelf, you get bills that you are told insurance won’t cover. Sometimes it is simply a matter of an incorrectly written code or a late billing. But to find out, you have to wait on the phone, sometimes for half an hour on hold, to a soundtrack that sounds like my brakes.
Now I don’t blame the doctors or nurses. They are amazing. But it should not be that difficult.
Another thing that really ticks me off is — oh shoot, it is 10:44 …
Jeffrey Bergeron’s column “Biff America” publishes Mondays in the Summit Daily News. Bergeron has worked in TV and radio for more than 30 years, and his column can be read in several newspapers and magazines. He is the author of “Mind, Body, Soul.” Bergeron arrived in Breckenridge when there was plenty of parking and no stoplights. Contact him at email@example.com.
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