As most of you are aware, I recently changed jobs. With that change, came a change in health insurance coverage. In my adult life, every full-time job I’ve had has provided me with some sort of health plan. Unfortunately, this is not something the church has been able to provide as I’ve come on board full-time.
Not having insurance was the only small detail that gave me pause about accepting my new position. It’s not that I’m worried I’ll get sick or be in an accident. After the car rolling incident of 2013, I’m fairly certain I’m unbreakable anyway. No, my concern would come during tax season when there would be a huge fee I’d have to pay for not having coverage.
But that was easily remedied, thanks to a Google search for “affordable health insurance.” I got a call right away after submitting my information and got a quote that actually was affordable. And it includes dental and vision. Not too shabby.
It’s been two weeks since I made that purchase. And the calls keep coming. I probably get at least 15 calls a day. They all come from the same five numbers in various places around the country. Two are from Virginia, where I live. One is from Florida, another from New York, and the last is from Utah. I know why they’re calling. Because they’ve all told me. They want to sell me insurance.
They’re not exactly polite about it. Though they’re all from different companies, but they have the same scripts. “Hello Aaron, I’m calling about affordable healthcare coverage. Are you looking for individual or family?” Note, I’m only putting the punctuation in there because I’m a stickler for how I think it should go. I’m not saying I’m perfect with punctuation at all times, but that’s a topic for another day. No, the punctuation is implied. They read that first line with a speed and tenacity that only someone with super fast reflexes could completely understand. I only understand it because I’ve heard it dozens of times. The first few times, I literally responded with, “Huh?”
It’s my fault, I know. I’m the one who went online seeking cheap insurance. I’m the one who submitted my phone number and email address, thereby giving these people permission to call me. All the time. But I’m done with it. I got insurance. I’m good to go. Put that in your system and move on to some other poor shmoe who needs your help.
Throughout these weeks, in all my brief conversations with these telemarketers, I’ve come across one who was actually polite about the situation. The day after I actually made my insurance purchase, I spoke with someone offering the same thing. I asked her if there was some way that I could let all these different companies know that I already had my insurance and would no longer need these attempts to sway my business. She suggested putting my number on the Do Not Call Registry. I thanked her and did exactly that. (BTW, she took me off that company’s call list, otherwise I’d be getting calls from six companies every day.)
Only problem is it takes 30 days for my number to actually become part of the registry and, I assume, disappear from all these companies’ databases. Meanwhile, I still get calls.
For a few days after that, knowing that I would still get calls, I decided I’d just answer the phone and try to let them know that I didn’t need insurance anymore. I thought, one telemarketer was super polite about it, maybe they all will be. HA! That one woman was a diamond in the rough.
Look, I’m not going to go off on a telemarketer and tell them to get a real job. It’s a real job. I get it. They are calling me because my number popped up on their computer as a potential sale. But when I’m trying to tell you to stop calling me as politely as I can, your response should not be to just hang up on me and then call me back in 15 minutes. That’s not going to change my mind.
That’s usually what happens. I’ll let them say their super speed opening line, then I’ll say, “I’m sorry, (why I’m apologizing, I don’t know) but I already have insurance. Would you mind making a note in your sys–” and then they hang up. Really?
The last time I answered the phone for one of these calls, I interrupted the guy. “I’m gonna stop you right there. And, please, don’t hang up on me until I get this said.” I began. Surprisingly, he didn’t hang up on me immediately. “I already have insurance. I just bought it a few days ago. Please, remove me from whatever list you have me on because I’m really tired of getting these calls.”
At this point, he still hadn’t hung up. He actually responded. “All right Mr. Peck, have a great day!”
I started to say thank you, but he had already hung up. A few hours later, I got a call from the same number. Clearly, he did not take me off that company’s list. So I haven’t bothered answering any of them anymore.
But I’m thinking of changing that tactic. I’m still a couple weeks away from the my number actually disappearing from databases. Why not have some fun with these telemarketers. Again, I know they’re just trying to do their jobs, but maybe I’ll give them something to tell their significant others about when they get home. Below, you’ll find a potential sample of a conversation that could happen in the near future. Maybe even later today…
Telemarketer: “Hello, Mr. Peck, I’m calling to offer you affordable healthcare coverage today. Are you looking for insurance for just yourself or for your family?”
Aaron: “Boy, am I glad you called when you did. I’ve been ignoring your calls for weeks, but something told me that this is the one.”
TM: “I’m so glad I can help you today! So will this be single coverage?”
A: “Well, it’ll be single coverage, but let me make sure you can actually help me. See, I’m a morbidly obese diabetic daily smoker with a pretty serious heart condition and, as it turns out, I need to have part of my colon removed within the next few months or my intestines may explode. I’ve only got about $100 to spare for insurance each month. Is there anything you can do for me?”
TM: “Uhhh…” *CLICK*