Tag Archives: health insurance

Does Anybody Here Speak English?

18 Sep

Many, many years ago I worked as a customer service rep for a health insurance company.  I loved my job and most of my customers were delightful, but some of them had a rather loose grip on the English language.  I often remarked that when I retired I was going to write a book with the above title: Does Anybody Here Speak English. Last night I found a stack of notes I’d kept for this opus, so I will share them.

The lady who was upset that her daughter’s student policy didn’t cover pregnancy. It was stated in several places that maternity care wasn’t covered, and we always made certain to remind the client a number of times when the policy was considered.  The woman seemed to understand that, but she still hoped we could cover the part of the hospitalization that wasn’t related to labor and delivery.

The man who got angry when we didn’t cover a meal he’d ordered from a local restaurant because he didn’t like what the hospital was serving. “And you call yourself a service organization!”

But sometimes it was just the way they expressed themselves. “I’m gonna ask you two questions. One for you and one for me.”

The doctor took out her utrix and left her tubals.

They shown a light up the front and a light up the back, but when he operated he went right up the middle.

A note I received written on a scrap of envelope: “please Lent me know when one year BeGan’s in Ends”. Punctuation and spelling are original.

But my absolute favorite was an exchange I had with an elderly gentleman. Many of our subscribers referred to outpatient surgery as “in- and outpatient” care, which seems perfectly logical. (The term outpatient care always conjured up a picture of a patient sitting on a park bench, with the doctor and nurses bent over him.)  This man had called with a question about a surgical bill and I asked him if it was in- or out patient – to which he replied “Yes.”

Obviously, my question came out a bit more sharply than I intended. “Yes, what?”

And he replied, “Yes, ma’am.”