Monday, July 21, 2008

Write that down

A while back, the boys went to the dentist for their check up. The youngest had a couple of cavities and the dentist suggested we go to a pediatric dentist. I'm all for pedi specialties so we made the appointment.

The day of the appointment we arrived early to fill out the reams of paperwork. The lady at the front desk took my drivers license, and my insurance card and made photocopies. I filled out the forms, handed them back and sat to wait our turn.

A few minutes later she called me to the window and asked the same question all medical offices ask, and it really pisses me off.
"We need your social security number please."

No, in fact you do not.
What I said was even polite, "I don't give out my social security number."

Folks, let me tell you that things went rapidly down hill from there.
"But we need it for the records" she said.
I told her that she did not need it.
"We have to have it to trace you with your insurance."
No you don't. My social security number is not part of my insurance in any way. In fact, if you try to find my insurance by my SS#, they will tell you I have none.
"Well, we have to have it to put something into the computer for that space, if not the computer will kick it out."
Oh, well then why don't you put 123-45-6789 in to it?
"But that's not your SS#"
The computer doesn't know that.

The lady was getting mad at me. She had been told that she needed the number and she believed it. She called the office manager over and told her the situation. That's when things got really interesting.

Said the office manger; "Sir, we have to have that information."

No you don't. The only people who have to have that number are financial institutions and my employers. It is illegal to require it for ID purposes. In fact as I told the other lady, that number has been removed from my insurance records on my request. It won't help you at all if you have it, and if you try to use it they will tell you I have no insurance. You already have two major pieces of identity information, if I give you another anybody can take my identity.

"Oh, you're worried about Identity theft?"

Absolutely, and privacy.

"Well, if we don't have that information, we will have to ask that you pay in full in cash, we can't file insurance."

Can't? or won't?

"Well, we won't" she said with a smug smile of satisfaction. She thought she had me. She thought she had regained the upper hand.

She was wrong.

I said "OK, ill give you the number (she started to smile) if you will write that down in a letter and sign it for me."


Yes ma'am. If you'll just type me a letter saying that you refuse to file my insurance unless I give you a number that you don't need, and then you sign it since you are the office manager, I'll give you the number.

The look on her face was priceless. It went from confusion, to comprehension and then to anger over it in about seven seconds. But what could she do? All I wanted was proof, and she knew it. She wasn't about to hang her ass out on this, although apparently it was alright to hang mine out.

She looked at me, her assistant, back to me with a look of pure contempt, and then back to her assistant. "Just put something in" she spat "and file it with what we have."

I love the feeling of victory.

As we were leaving, the assistant told me the insurance information had gone through, and everything was in order.

I couldn't help but say "Just like I said it would, and without the SS# too. Amazing!"

The office manager was watching and wanted to spit nails at me.

It's the little things

Mr Fixit


armed_and_christian said...

I've been through this battle with our dentist and doctor's office

The podiatrist's office didn't even blink at me when they saw the slashmark through the line where they expected me to pen in my SSN.

Well done. Do not let Big Brother win.

farmist said...

Thank you SO MUCH for posting this! I wouldn't have handled it nearly so well.

TD said...

Well played!