BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee [rant]

A lot has been changing in my life over the last 12 months, and it has been a while since I have written a post.  I have been staying pretty busy with work and family, the business has been growing and I’m about to hire a new full-time employee.  My family is also growing, as I my wife and I will be having our first son come August.  Having a growing family means that health coverage has become a new priority for me, where I have been without health insurance for the last ten years or so.  While I can’t say that I know anybody who loves insurance companies or their practices, I can certainly say that of all I have worked with BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee is the worst so far.

I’ll have to give a bit of a preface and I’ll start by saying that my wife has had health insurance through BlueCross BlueShield of Arkansas for a couple of years.  We had no issues with them when it came to doctors visits, prescriptions such as Nexium for my wife’s chronic heartburn, Advair for her asthma, or anything else that she needed medically.  My wife does have terrible acid reflux to the point of her aspirating acid into her lungs resulting in damage and regular asthma flareups.  She has been on Nexium for about two years and over those two years her asthma has gone from putting her in the hospital almost every few months to almost non-existent.  That is, until we changed to BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee…

My wife went to refill her Nexium prescription at CVS and was told that BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee was requiring prior authorization for the prescription.  They claim that without a “level 3 esophagus erosion” that Nexium is not necessary and that over the counter Prilosec, which is effectively half the effectiveness and twice the out of pocket price, is all that she needs.  Keep in mind that she already had chronic acid reflux resulting in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, COPD for short, and now she is pregnant which is known to cause acid reflux in those who have never had heartburn in their lives.

Taking this all a step further with my wife being pregnant, having chronic acid reflux, and asthma she now also has gestational diabetes.  Gestational diabetes is essentially, as the doctor explained it to us, where her body cannot quite keep up with the insulin demand of her and the baby and, as such, she is effectively diabetic for the duration of the pregnancy.  The doctor wrote my wife a prescription for a meter, test strips, etc…  When we went to CVS Pharmacy to fill these prescriptions as they are required to monitor her blood sugar to avoid serious complications such as diabetic coma, damage to her and the baby, and a long list of other side effects of diabetes CVS informed us that BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee is rejecting the prescriptions and that BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee requires “prior authorization.”

For whatever reason BlueCross BlueShield in what appears to be every attempt they can make to keep every penny they are paid, seems to require prior authorization for every prescription my wife has been written.  I am beginning to wonder what the point of having insurance is, if they are going to reject all claims while continuing to accept payments for the insurance coverage.  We never faced this issue with BlueCross BlueShield of Arkansas, so it’s obvious the administrators in Tennessee are, at the least, greedier.  If a doctor writes a patient a prescription for a blood sugar meter and test strips, what does the insurance company think?   Do they think that we are making this up so that we can get one over on them when it comes to a $110 prescription of blood glucose test strips?

Why is BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee requiring prior authorization from the doctor for a brand new treatment on a brand new medical issue, especially gestational diabetes?  None of this makes any sense at all to me.  I thought it was in the best interest of the insurance provider to make sure issues such as these are taken care of to avoid other, bigger issues down the road that result from lack of treatment.

At the end of the day, if you are looking for a health insurance company and BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee is on your list, you may want to look at alternative options.

Disclaimer: All information contained within is factual to the best of my knowledge.  Any information that is not purely factual is my opinion.  In the event that information is presented as factual when in reality it is not, there is no malice intent and I will be happy to make an update or correction when it is brought to my attention.

Update 1 – 06/13/2012 2:30 PM

The blood glucose meter that my wife was provided by her OBGYN was a OneTouch Ultra Mini, however, the insurance company is absolutely refusing to pay for the test strips for this meter.  They have informed us that our only option is to choose a testing strip that they will pay for (read: cheap) and then to go buy a matching meter out of pocket although we already have a perfectly functional blood glucose tester.

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WordPress “Yet Another Related Post Plugin” or “YARPP”…

# Query_time: 9 Lock_time: 0 Rows_sent: 0 Rows_examined: 4281017

Now if you’re not a webmaster, server administrator, or developer the above line may not mean too much to you.  I understand that many people who install WordPress and dozens or more plugins really have no idea what it takes for that to all “work”.  In this particular case the above line is one single query made by the “Yet Another Related Post Plugin” on a WordPress database.  The query took 9 seconds and examined over 4.2 MILLION rows of data – and this was done on a shared web hosting server. Continue reading

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Samsung High Efficiency Front Loading Washer & Dryer

So my wife and I just moved into a new apartment and either our old washer got damaged during the move or it just decided to give up the ghost.  We hooked the old set up and woke up the next morning to a huge pool of water in the laundry room!  Needless to say that the wife was not very happy with the situation and we began perusing craigslist.com looking for a replacement set.

We ended up buying a used washer and dryer that turned out to be a not-so-great purchase.  The set appeared to work fine however once we got them home and tried using them we quickly found out that the washer didn’t pump any cold water even on the “cold” setting but instead only used hot water.  The dryer also did a good job of drying but it sounded almost as if the drum was hitting the side of the dryer as it was running… Needless to say that I decided that buying a used washer and dryer wasn’t a good idea so I went to my local HHGregg store to look at a new set.

It’s been a long time since I’ve looked at major home appliances, at least several years, and I expected them to be around $1,000 or more per unit and was surprised to find this unit MSRP’d at $799 listed at $649 each at HHGregg!  I negotiated the price down with the salesman to $580 per unit and I feel I got a pretty good deal on the set.  I had to drive to the north side of Indianapolis, which is around a 45 minute drive from our apartment, to pick up the set.  I could have waited for the local store to get the units in stock however we had laundry that needed done and I really just wanted to bring them home that day.

I have to say that Samsung packed the appliances quite well!  The washer’s drum was supported from below on molded Styrofoam and the drum was held in place by four shipping bolts and spacers.  After getting the set fully unpacked and installed I ran them through an empty cycle to make sure that they were working as they should and then I got to washing laundry!

The washer uses an extremely low amount of water, so little that I was almost worried it wouldn’t get anything cleaned.  I quickly ran a full load through the washer and was amazed as it spun the drum up to 1,300 RPM during the spin cycle in perfect balanced harmony due to the Vibration Reduction Technology.  The washer is nearly completely silent as it does it’s job and the dryer is similar in that it’s extremely quiet.

At the end of the day – if you’re looking for a new washer and drier I can highly recommend Samsung appliances.  The estimated yearly operating cost of the washer is $14 if you’re using an electric water heater and $8 if using a gas powered heater.

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Extreme Disappointment with AT&T Customer Service (lack there of).

Update 2: I called the next day and escalated myself to another supervisor.  This supervisor looked at the history of the call from the night before and said that he would verify that Amazon.com did indeed have this offer going and if they did he would apply the credits.  He made it clear to me that he was doing this not only due to how long I’ve been with AT&T but also due to the fact that if I’m willing to write an email, a blog post, and call more than once – that I was eventually get what I wanted.  The supervisor also acknowledged that AT&T doesn’t make money off of the handsets themselves (they pay $699 each for the Torch) but that they instead make money off of the contract for service.  It simply didn’t make sense to him for him to block my request when ultimately I was considering switching to another provider over the incident.  AT&T stood to lose much more of my money by not giving me the credit than by doing so.

If you try to get such a credit applied to your account I do wish you luck as even this email to the executives got responded to with essentially “We won’t price match, sorry.”  Good luck!


This post will consist entirely of a letter sent to AT&T concerning my recent experiences with their customer service department.  I give anybody and everybody full rights to reproduce this email in it’s entirety in any way, shape, or form.


To: AT&T Executives
Subject: Extreme Disappointment with AT&T Customer Service (lack there of). Continue reading

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Day of the surgery

So today at 6 AM I am driving my mother down to Columbus Regional Hospital for brain surgery. I know this site doesn’t get much traffic but if you can keep my mother in mind today I would appreciate it.

Godspeed.

Update 1
Sitting in the waiting room.

Update 2
2.5 hours into surgery and they came out and told us she’s doing well but it’s going to be about another hour.

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Would a reasonable individual believe that everything I post is fact and none of it is my personal opinion?

So it seems that on my own personal blog I’m not allowed to voice my opinions should somebody else disagree with them.  While I find it odd that somebody would think that a large portion of what I write on my personal blog is not merely my personal opinion on whatever I’m writing about…. I’d really like to hear from you!

Do look over some of my posts here (there’s what? 22 of them as of this writing) and let me know what you think!  Do you think that a large portion of what I’ve written and posted is my opinion?  Oh, and I know I get a lot of traffic [lol] so I do expect at least a few thousand comments!

MikeDVB.com - Amazing Traffic (lol)
Yes, that's a peak of 81 and an average of 8.296 visitors per day...
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Starcraft2 – Beta

SC2Well… I got my hands on a copy of the SC2 beta and played it for a few hours and the only real thing that I can say I’m disappointed in is the inability to zoom out.  You can zoom in and see the intricate details of a battle but when push comes to shove your ability to multitask and micro-manage are going to be what decides whether you win or lose.  I personally would prefer having a larger viewing area available or at the least an option to allow the camera to zoom out further.

During a larger battle I find myself constantly scrolling around (even when it’s a battle in only one location) to see what is going on in all locations where as if I could zoom out a bit more, I wouldn’t have to do that.

I guess I just wanted to complain about something, so here it is.

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Jonathan Burdon – AlreadyHosting.com – Archive

This page originally contained an complete email conversation between myself and Jonathan Burdon however due to legal issues (copyright) I’ve been required to pull down those emails.  Fortunately this doesn’t stop me from speaking about Jonathan’s less than ethical actions including cookie stuffing as well as “reviews” lacking any sort of content or value.

Feel free to read about Mr. Burdon and AlreadyHosting.com’s less than ethical strategies to obtain affiliate commissions:

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Windows7 Ultimate – First Impressions

At first glance Windows7 is a very nice upgrade and in my opinion it is what Vista should have been.  The Windows7 installation was quick and painless and the user experience is very quick and efficient.  I’ve noticed a reduction in system resource usage in Windows7 over Windows Vista.

There is one small thing that is bothering me…  I run dual monitors as I use this as my workstation and it often helps to have things side by side instead of on top of each other.  I have seen the commercials of the “snap” feature and it looks like it would be very nice but the implementation when using dual monitors is less than I would expect.

You can snap a window to the left of the monitor on the left, or to the right of the monitor on the right, but not to the opposite sides of either monitor.  Before you say that it’s because there is no “edge” between the two monitors – my primary monitor is 1600×1200 and my secondary is 1280×1024 and there is definitely an edge when going from the larger to the smaller monitor that i can hit the mouse up against.

I honestly can’t think of a real good way for Microsoft to implement the “snap” feature on a multiple monitor configuration that wouldn’t be more trouble than it’s worth and I can see the argument against even using it if you are running 2+ monitors but it’s the principal of the issue as far as I am concerned.

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Domain Squatting – Really???

So I have a new puppy and I’ve been searching Google to find a good resource for information on the breed and I was surprised not to see any really good forums related to the breed.  I love operating forums and I thought it was a good idea to perhaps register a domain and set up a forum for owners of the breed and this is where the problems started.  It seems that every domain name that I’ve tried that would even remotely work for the forum is parked by some sort of domain squatter as you can see with these examples:

http://www.welshcorgis.com/
http://www.corgis.com/
http://www.corgiforum.com/

This is extraordinarily frustrating and it makes me wonder how many others out there have wanted to start a useful and informative site that gave up because they simply couldn’t register a domain related to what it was they wanted to run a site about.  There are a few Corgi sites out there but the vast majority of them are simply short excerpts with a “Buy my book” link at the end.

At any rate, I’ve got my eye on a domain that’s set to expire here within the next couple of weeks and we’ll see if I can snag it before a bot gets it as it drops off of the registrar.  I’m 99% sure a bot is going to snag the registration the day it becomes available before I even have a chance to check and see if it’s available.  It’s sad that it has come to this.

To close this post on a positive note, here’s a short video of the puppy that has inspired my desire to launch a forum for all breeds of Corgi dogs:

http://welshcorgis.com/
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