Laverne, the UPMC insurance lady

So I was sitting at home tonight, thinking about everything that’s going on, and my phone rang. It was a 412 area code, so I figured I’d let it go to voicemail, because that’s what I do with numbers I don’t recognize. They left a voicemail- it was UPMC. I was kind of concerned, or curious that it could be someone scheduling my sleep study or endoscopy, so I called back. I got HER voicemail (her name’s Laverne), and asked her to call back. 15 minutes later, my phone rang again.

For Web CallCenter

This is how I picture Laverne. She was super friendly, helpful, and gave me her personal number before the call ended.

She said I’d been chosen for a call to see if I had any questions about anything to do with my appointments and my insurance. I asked if she had any idea what was going on with me, and she no, she didn’t have access to that information.

I proceeded to tell her about the process I’d recently started. I told her I didn’t believe I had any questions right now,  but I assumed I would down the road when we got closer to surgery. She asked what kind of insurance I have, and I told her Highmark. She asked what doctor and hospital I’d be using, and I told her Dr Ali at UPMC Bariatrics at UPMC Hamot hospital.

[There have been HUGE issues between UPMC (which is buying up every hospital they can in Western Pennsylvania. Highmark subsequently “fired” 700 UPMC physicians. A serious shitstorm for Highmark patients in the region.]

She asked if I was in the “five county radius”, and I replied that I didn’t have any idea what she was talking about., but I live 3 hours north of Pittsburgh, and live an hour and a half from the hospital. She asked me to hold tight a minute, saying that she wanted to look something up.

Then she said the magic words:

UPMC facilities, doctors, and other providers outside the five-county area (Allegheny, Beaver, Butler, Washington, and Westmoreland counties) will be in-network, including hospital and doctor services at:

  • UPMC Altoona
  • UPMC Bedford Memorial
  • UPMC Hamot
  • UPMC Horizon
  • Kane Community Hospital
  • UPMC Northwest.”

I asked “Ill be IN NETWORK?”

She replied “You sure will, honey.”

I cried. I told her that I hadn’t been sleeping because I worried about how I was going to pay the $7000 for 2015 and 2016 Out-of-Network deductibles. Now I only have to come up with $2000!!!! She was so sweet, and so genuinely happy for me. And I couldn’t tell you how much I appreciated her help. I’m still grinning like an idiot. I just hope she’s right.


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