Yesterday I received a phone call from the appeals manager at WageWorks. They had been inundated with letters/faxes/emails on my behalf. And, she said, it was slowing down my case. Because each time a new communication arrived, it had to be open, read, and filed. I couldn’t help myself and simply burst out laughing. “Yeah, I have a lot of friends.” To my great relief, the manager chuckled as well.
But then I asked her what she meant when she said ‘slowing down my case.’ I had been led to believe that I was now done with WageWorks, and that my second appeal, which I was hard at work on, would be going to UFP Technologies. The manager than explained that it was a two tier process, that my case was not decided by one entity alone. And then she said she would call me as soon as my second appeal had been reviewed.
We were in the weeds here, in a way I hadn’t anticipated. However, for the first time, the banter was friendly. And that made me hopeful.
In the meantime, I had reached out to UFP Technologies simply to confirm the mailing address. The woman I spoke to was also the person who would be making a call on my appeal. She reminded me that I had been late on a payment one other time, back when I’d first gone on Cobra. But she was also incredibly kind and seemingly understanding. She urged me to get the materials for my second appeal in as quickly as possible, so that we could bring this to resolution.
My second appeal was ready to go, barring a letter from Dr. Shaw per my cognitive challenges–she was going to send it to me last evening. I had been working with Gayle Petrick, a case manager from Patient Advocate Foundation, as well as Matthew Cortland, an attorney who believes that healthcare is a human right and who can be found on twitter under the handle MedicaidMatt. Gayle and Matt were (without charge) helping me to prepare my second appeal and Matt was also advising me as to options when and if it was denied.
The folks from LUNGevity and Bonnie Addario were working on my behalf behind the scenes. Chris Draft kept checking in, a representative from the American Lung Association called to see if they could be of assistance, and I was also contacted by the sponsor of the trial, Pfizer. At least one media outlet was interested in doing a story. Countless numbers of you reached out to me both for support and counsel. As I said at one point, I was turning over every stone possible. And if that didn’t work, then I’d just pick those stones up and start throwing them.
Fortunately, that wasn’t necessary. And I have to believe it was because of all of you and your constant stream of messages.
Half an hour after my first phone call from WageWorks (these people don’t call you—that in itself was a wonder), I received a second call. They had spoken to the plan administrator at UFP and my termination had been overturned. Furthermore, if I had any issues in the future, the manager urged me to call her.
I then received email confirmation from the woman at UFP–reinstatement for nonpayment is not something they do but they were making an exception for my, well, exceptional circumstances. And, that if I was to run into any more trouble or difficulty, ‘call or email me so I can help you.’
From here to hell and back. Just like that. Two of the longest, most stressful weeks ever have come to a close. Victorious. A crowd-sourced, group effort with an overwhelmingly positive result. At the end of the day, my coverage has been restored, but so too, I hope, is your faith in humanity. Together we really can overcome.