Four months later . . .

(This is a bit of a rant, and also may be too much information for those who don’t care to know about Girl Things. Consider yourself warned.)

. . . I think I have finally resolved the billing problems I was having with Planned Parenthood. I was really excited in July when I went to the clinic in Davis Square to get my birth control. They give you a years’ worth up front and then bill you each month, cool right? But there was a hitch — I left without the 13 months’ worth I should have received — they didn’t have enough that would still be within the expiration date. I was told I could go back at any time and pick the rest of it up. When I went back before moving, they still didn’t have enough. They assured me that it wouldn’t be a problem to contact the billing office and stop the contract, and gave me the contact info.

I started calling the main billing office in Massachusetts shortly after I moved, and have been calling them off and on since then. At first, I had trouble even just getting through — main department numbers on their phone system route you directly to voice mail. Frequently the voice mail was full. When I could and did leave a message, no one called back. A couple of times, I called the reception desk to say the billing department voicemail was full and asked to be transferred directly to someone in the department. They wouldn’t do that, but they were willing to “send an email to the manager with your info, so they have it and can call you back.” That never worked either. I spoke to someone a couple of times in February. She stopped calling me back. I gave up for a few weeks.

Today I finally manged to get through to a line where someone actually picked up. The issue is settled, but I’m not particularly pleased with the outcome and I won’t be such a PP cheerleader in the future. The person I spoke with today wasn’t quite paying attention — she was clearly having a side conversation with a coworker while on the phone with me. She was looking at my patient record and reading the notes about this billing problem while her mind was engaged elsewhere. More than once I heard her say things like “oh, now I’m confusing myself.” Is it too much to ask for you to pay attention? I’m already annoyed because I know you’re the person who stopped returning my calls in February (I wrote down her name, and that’s the name you gave me when you picked up). And now, as I pretend that I never spoke with anyone and this is the first time I managed to get through at all, you are having a conversation with your coworker about walnuts. Thanks.

I’m too exasperated to continue arguing. I’m fairly certain I paid for an additional month’s worth that I didn’t actually receive. I’m told that their records say I got 10 months’ worth, and thus I must pay for 10 months’ worth; mine say I got 9. (Even better, the payment contract was set to charge me through September — hello? I’d have run out in July?) Annoyingly, somehow this means I have paid them–and according to their records, should have paid them–for the last two months, even though I had already run out of what they gave me in March.

At least they (in theory) won’t charge me any more. I’m skeptical. This shouldn’t have been that difficult. I asked the rep to send a confirmation that she have canceled the payment contract and they will no longer charge my card. We’ll see. If this comes up again, I’m disputing it with my credit card.

As a side note, only today did someone offer to mail the rest of the prescription to me. That was never mentioned when I went to the office in December, found they still didn’t have enough, and said I was moving out of state and asked what to do. When I spoke with the billing rep in February, she never mentioned that (and I made sure to say that I had moved out-of-state).

Moral of the story: If you sign up for Pills Now Pay Later, don’t hand over the payment contract unless you walk out the door with the full years’ supply of birth control. Otherwise it’s not worth the annoyance.

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