Sunday, August 7, 2016

Taking No Chances

A guest at the Westin wanted a doctor to look at a rash. I quoted the fee, always a tense moment.

“Do you take insurance?”

If the caller is American, the visit is doomed, but this one wasn’t. I asked the name.


I know Assistcard, but it doesn’t allow clients to call the doctor on their own. They must phone Assistcard which confirms their eligibility and then phones me.

Most travelers know this. In the past, when I told the rare exception what to do and then waited for the call from Assistcard, it never came. So I told him I would arrange matters.

Foreign insurers have offices in the US, so their customer service is painfully familiar. I listened to a recorded welcome in Spanish, Portuguese, and English. I punched “3” to choose English. A recorded voice told me to listen carefully to choices on the menu because they had recently changed. I chose and then listened to muzak. 

After several minutes a dispatcher greeted me in Spanish. I proceeded in English which I suspected he spoke and this proved correct. He assured me that he would phone the guest, and arrange approval. He kept his word although an hour passed before he called.

During the wait, the guest’s wife decided that it wouldn’t hurt to have the doctor check her cold. The approval, when it arrived, added a consult with the wife, so it turned out to be a lucrative visit.   

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