Sarah Romero, the adjuster assigned to my claim, must not think I have a good memory. Perhaps she just says anything that pops into her head. Or perhaps she has been well-trained by Allstate.
At the very beginning, she told me I could send photos of my damaged truck to Allstate via their app. When I told her that my cellphone was a bit too old for such things and asked if I could simply email her photos I would take with a proper camera, she said that photos could not be sent via email. I thought this was strange, as email is older than apps.
She instead promised me that someone would call me and set a time for them to take photos. She said this a few times, but eventually I realized she was conning me, as no one ever called or visited me. Meanwhile someone from my insurance company paid my truck a visit and took a number of photos.
On a different subject, she told me I could send her email. I did not ask her why I could not send photos via this method as I had already realized she would give me another song and dance.
The adjuster from my insurance company sent me the photos that were taken. I asked Romero if I could send her the photos, but she told me that Allstate would not accept any photos from a non-Allstate entity. I refrained from asking her why it would accept photos taken via a claimant's smart phone and not from a professional adjuster, albeit one from a different company.
I reminded her that she had promised someone would take photos of the truck. I wondered aloud if she was just stringing me along. She was strangely quiet, though an innocent person would have said something to rebut the accusation.
The truck will be fixed starting on Monday, with no one from Allstate ever having seen it. Someone from my insurance company told me that this behavior is typical from Allstate. Of course I will ask the body shop to take a few before-and-after photos and send them to me.
My claim has been turned over to my insurance company's subrogation department, essentially a collections agency dedicated to collecting debts from corporate deadbeats. Allstate won't be able to play the same games with the subrogation department that it has with me.
Why is Allstate allowed to stay in business?
One restaurant I frequent has some interesting servers.
One demonstrates her prodigious memory on a regular basis. She does not need to write down our order, though she often does to ensure that there are no mistakes. She casually mentioned the other day that she wouldn't be at work on the usual day we appear because she would be on vacation. I asked her if she was going any place fun. She offered that she was merely taking a break from working two jobs, as she works at the restaurant before going to her full-time job as a night stocker at Walmart.
One does what one has to do to survive in an economy where libertarian parasites are allowed to outsource jobs with wild abandon, not to mention ignoring long-established law.
Another mentioned that she had been in California for some training. I thought this was strange, given that restaurants do not pay people to travel to other states for training. After eavesdropping on another table I got the impression she was a real estate agent. I asked if she was a real estate agent, but she replied that she is a flipper. I had never met a flipper before, so I asked her a few questions. She was very animated as she talked, like an Amway salesman I once knew. She told me how flippers research properties remotely via the Internet. What was most amazing about her story is that flippers might assign the property to another flipper before the original transaction was completed. I asked her how that was handled contractually and she said it was done with a few added lines to the contract, something I found difficult to believe. She went on like a Scientologist, extolling the virtues of flipping, saying that everyone wins, yet she also mentioned that some sellers were only doing so because they were in financial trouble. I was shocked that she was not required to be a real estate agent.
It used to be true that selling a house before it had been owned for one year incurred a severe capital gains tax, but obviously Congress in its infinite libertarian wisdom eliminated that pesky restriction. The flipper is dead wrong: everyone does not win, because she and her fellow flippers are putting house prices out of reach for first-time buyers. Buying a home should not resemble a lottery. If we had a Congress with any integrity, the law would be changed back to what it was before.
The NRA initially appeared willing to agree to a ban on so-called bump stocks, a replacement of the stock which allows the shooter to essentially fire in a fully automatic manner. But it has flip-flopped.
The NRA demonstrated its ignorance of the law, specifically the 1986 Firearm Owners Protection Act which banned automatic weapons -- "it shall be unlawful for any person to transfer or possess a machinegun" -- which had not been lawfully owned prior to the passage of the bill.
And since adding a bump stock converts a semi-automatic weapon into an automatic one, it creates an illegal situation because the weapon was not an automatic weapon before 1986. It is no different than replacing the sear in a semi-automatic weapon with one from an automatic weapon, or modifying it in a machine shop to achieve the same result, with the sear being the part that ties together the trigger, safety, and hammer.
Congress needs to enforce existing law, something the NRA has been saying for years.
Bump stocks must not only be removed from the marketplace; the possession of them must be made illegal.
I picked a new PCP, New West Physicians, out of a hat because I did not like having an invalid PCP as I wrote before. I made an appointment for today. Cigna told me it will not mail new ID cards since it's close to the end of the year. I have no idea if other medical insurance companies have the same restriction. I printed a new one from the website, but it contained the text, "PCP: None Selected," which is the default.
When I checked in with New West Physicians, I was told by the receptionist that since my card did not have the name of their doctor as the PCP, he wouldn't be able to give referrals. I got the impression there would be other restrictions as well. I asked why she could not call Cigna and verify the coverage. She told me that their practice would not do that. The unsympathetic supervisor was standing nearby and I asked her the same question. She gave me the same answer.: my ID card must contain the proper PCP name or they could not deal with me. She made it sound like I was asking her to sever one of her fingers.
I grabbed the paperwork I had just completed and walked out. The bullshit from medical providers just never ends.
I called Cigna and switched PCPs. Again. The telephone agent snickered when I asked if it was standard practice to require perfect ID cards. We'll see if the new doctor requires a perfect ID card.
Years ago, before the Affordable Care Act was enacted, I was denied insurance due to preexisting conditions even though I did not have cancer, heart disease, HIV/AIDS, cystic fibrosis, or any other major medical problem. Eventually I discovered Cover Colorado, the insurer of last resort in Colorado, but while I was uninsured I made a few inquiries. I asked a pharmacist what the cash price would be for a generic prescription that cost me $20 under insurance. He told me that his price would be $200. Later, with a high-deductible insurance, I asked a surgery center for the costs for someone with poor coverage. They told me that there was a retail price and a cash price, with the former being the outrageous amount they charged insurance companies. And of course there were the many negotiated prices depending upon the size of the negotiator. I never forgot these lessons.
As I wrote before, I was rear-ended by someone. I made an appointment with my doctor to discuss my injuries, with this appointment being in early September. My doctor and I discussed some things, including the possibility of physical therapy, and then he told me to get some x-rays at a provider I had used earlier that year. However, the provider told me that my insurance was not valid. I was rather confused by this. They told me I could pay the cash price, which I did because it was not too high, though still not as low as what a normal co-payment would have been. I did not make much of the incident at the time.
My PCP sent me a message which required me to login to his website. I noticed that it had changed and was now UC Health. However, I had never received any notice of the acquisition -- or more importantly, any notice of insurance changes -- whether via telephone, email, or USPS. I made a second appointment with him, as he had advised that insurance companies like it better if patients see their PCP every 2-3 weeks to obtain continuity of treatment. The Friday before my Monday appointment, someone from his office called me and left a message. Since my appointment was the next Monday, I assumed it was the usual, "We are calling to remind you of your upcoming appointment," and I did not listen to it until the weekend when the office was closed.
However, the voicemail was not the expected one. The call regarded UC Health's acquisition of the practice and its impact on my coverage. Specifically, the person stated that UC Health does not accept my insurance and that I would have to pay the cash price for my Monday appointment. I took this to mean that my appointment still stood.
I thought about not showing up for the appointment, but I showed up to argue my case and to avoid having them charge me for a missed appointment. When I got there, the receptionist asked the business manager to speak with me. The business manager told me she had only worked there for three weeks and that the doctors had sold their private practice to UC Health. It was clear she believed that this freed UC Health of any obligations to its newly acquired patients. She also told me that my appointment had been canceled, yet when I challenged her on it, she admitted she had no idea if that was actually true. She told me that the acquisition by UC Health was effective August 1, 2017.
I asked to see my PCP one last time for long-term advice and to obtain one more prescription for generic prescription painkillers for my neck, especially given that it was nearly the end of the month and it would be a clean break. She refused in a corporate manner. She told me that I could sign a new treatment plan and agree to pay all charges. I asked if this paperwork would state that I agreed to pay the cash price. She told me that the agreement was of a generic nature and would not have any limits on my liability. I refused and left.
In fact, any corporate acquisition involves the acceptance of both assets and liabilities unless the creditors agree. UC Health could have given me advance notice of the problem -- August 1 would have been a good date -- so I would have had plenty of time to find a new doctor.
The Colorado version of Obamacare does not allow customers to switch plans in the middle of the year unless it is for a life-changing event, e.g. adopting a child. It is not possible for me to switch plans to accommodate UC Health, not to mention that it is nearly time to choose a plan for 2018.
I first had to look through the list of doctors to find one accepting new patients, call to see how long the wait for an appointment was, and then change PCPs. Luckily I had nothing important to do that day so I was able to change PCPs and make an appointment for early October. My medical insurance company told me it will not mail a new ID card because it is already preparing for 2018.
My medical insurance company told me that my PCP was still officially the original doctor, as UC Health had not notified them of any changes, with PCPs being the gateway for all treatment unless one wants to pay the out-of-network price. And UC Health sent me two emails at the very end of September explaining that the office was moving to a different location effective October 2.
UC Health unilaterally eliminated all but emergency coverage for September and possibly August as well. UC Health will never tell me the truth, so I will never know if I actually had no coverage in August or if events were triggered by the business manager when she started work at the beginning of September. Small claims court appears to be my only option.
Immediately hire an attorney if you are involved in an accident with someone who has Allstate Insurance
Allstate is even worse than what my father told me.
I've stayed in contact with both my insurance company and Allstate, the company of the perp, to keep my options open. Every time I have spoken with the Allstate adjuster, she lied to me about how Allstate would handle the vehicle claim. No Allstate employee has ever contacted me to take pictures, but she told me I could take photos and use Allstate's app to submit them. I'm quite sure I would receive a check that wouldn't cover half of the damage.
The last time I spoke with her, and I do mean the last time, she tried to get me to agree to an econobox rental car instead of the full-size pickup I normally drive. Allstate is on the hook for the same vehicle its client wrecked. I can tell I will send them a receipt, they will send me a check that covers only a portion of the amount, and then I will be forced to file a complaint against them with Colorado's Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA).
But the worst part involves the medical injury claim. She always steers the conversation back to my injuries, trying to get me to say something she can use later, because she knows the vehicle claim is a slam dunk for me. The telephone line starts beeping in the way it does when a recording device is being used. I always stick to the facts, but I would imagine some people would think she is sympathetic to their plight, instead of the uncaring apparatchik that she is. I have not done myself any harm, but every minute I spent with her has been a complete waste of time.
Q: What is a required element in a contract between Marcel Marceau and another person who speaks via gestures and body movements, i.e. without words?
A: A meeting of the mimes.
FEMA under George W. Bush infamously refused to allow refugees from Hurricane Katrina to bring their pets onto buses leaving the city. Not only had these people lost everything they owned, but they were required to leave their furry friends behind to die.
And now Donald Trump continues that legacy of incompetence and graft.
Puerto Rico's governor has called Maria the worst hurricane in a century, with Trump having yet to declare the island a disaster area, but he sure finds the time to rail against Republican Obamacare rebels, when only 30% of Americans want the Affordable Care Act to be repealed and replaced.
There are some things only the military can do. An aircraft carrier should have been en-route to Puerto Rico within hours to ferry the sick and injured and deliver aid. It's what we did for the Philippines after Typhoon Haiyan.
These are Americans, no different than Trump's wealthy pals in New York. They deserve better.
Instead of trying to transfer even more money from average Americans to the 1% -- under his proposed tax cuts, the 1% will receive about 40% of the benefits, creating a deficit of $3.5 trillion in the process -- we should be implementing a progressive infrastructure tax to rebuild Puerto Rico, not to mention the one-in-ten bridges that need urgent repair, requiring at least $3 trillion.
Breitbart breathlessly announced that Luther Strange, a former trade lobbyist for Russell Brands running for Jeff Sessions' Senate seat, "lobbied for the trade deal that drained thousands of Alabama jobs to Honduras and Mexico."
Breitbart conflated NAFTA and CAFTA-DR, the former involving Canada and Mexico and the latter involving Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and the Dominican Republic.
NAFTA has never been in our favor. U.S.-Canada trade was until recently the world's greatest trading relationship, with that honor now belonging to U.S.-China trade. Note that the trade imbalance with Canada became outrageously so during Bush the Younger's reign, while the imbalance of U.S.-Mexico trade really became prominent immediately after the passage of NAFTA on January 1, 1994.
But CAFTA-DR trade has definitely been favorable to the U.S.
U.S.-China trade is the one to which we should pay attention given how lopsided it has always been. The last year the trading relationship was balanced was 1985, curiously the first year for which CENSUS Bureau data is available. We should depart the WTO or demand that China do so, not to mention eliminating China's PNTR status.
It's certainly true that Russell Brands took advantage of CAFTA-DR to transfer the wages of American workers to corporate management and Americans should punish the company by not buying its products. But to say that CAFTA-DR is not a benefit overall is disingenuous.