Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Haunted by the Past

As of the first of the year, I have medical insurance through my employer. I had a choice of three plans, all of which are with Kaiser Permanente.

Through the years, I've managed to avoid ever having Kaiser as my insurance provider. I know, I know, everybody who has it LOVES Kaiser. Except for those people who have been royally misdiagnosed. So previously I just went with a PPO plan or whatever my employer offered that wasn't Kaiser. But now I have Kaiser, and I was prepared to love it, because of all the people I know who think it's the greatest thing.

My roommate has Kaiser, and she absolutely adores her primary care provider, so I checked with her to find out her doctor's name, and tonight I went onto Kaiser's website to sign up with that doctor.

Kaiser's registration process, they said, would walk me through a series of 5 questions that would verify my identity before they'd give me my temporary password and let me register. It's understandable that they'd want to be sure, since anybody could (and of course would want to) pretend to be me. The rules were that I'd have 75 seconds to answer each question, and I had to get all five answers right on the first try, or no dice. If I missed, they'd send me my temporary password via snail mail.

First, they asked for the last four digits of my social security number. That wasn't the first of the five questions, though. The first question asked me what month my ex-husband (they named him) was born. Ummm... very odd, but OK. I answered it. Then they asked me if I recognized any of the names in a list of five. The fourth name in the list was my ex-husband's second ex-wife.

The next question was harder, because they asked what year I lived in one of the run-together cities in our area. My choices were 1985, 1988, 1991, 1995, and 1997. Well, I lived there from mid-December of 1985 until I think about mid-1987, and then I moved back in 1995 when my ex- and I split up, and I was there until 2003. But I wasn't thinking that clearly, and I was focused on when we first moved there, so I picked 1988, and it went on to the next question.

The fourth question was another list of names, and they wanted to know which one I knew. I picked, "I don't know any of these people." Game. Set. Match.

My temporary password will be arriving via snail mail in 5 to 7 days.

I hunted around the website until I found an 800 number, and I called, but they said they're experiencing a high volume of calls (at 8:20 pm???) and I should call back another time, like Saturday or Sunday.

I'm really ticked off. My ex-husband and I have been divorced since October of 1996, and at no time was I ever a member of Kaiser, especially not when my SSN and his were joined at the hip. So what on earth are they doing asking me questions about him to verify my identity?

This really stinks, and I plan on letting them know! (Politely, of course...)

1 comment:

Tsofah said...


That does sound a little strange, that they would ask you about your ex. I mean, how do they even know you HAVE an ex? Strange.