Substantiate THIS

I am an idiot. Repeatedly.

The company I work for provides many wonderful benefits. (I’m not being sarcastic or facetious about this, I am very grateful to have a job and to have one with benefits. I recognize I am lucky.) One of the benefits is a Flexible Spending Account (FSA), which allows employees to put aside pre-tax dollars to pay for qualified medical or childcare expenses. The company holding my FSA even provided me with a secure VISA®-branded prepaid card, to which the FSA Holding Company electronically applies eligible FSA expense reimbursements. Sounds good, right?

Yeahhhhhhhh

The dollars are deducted from your paycheck and sent to Satan and he holds the dollars hostage until you spin straw into gold or cough-up your first born. Unfortunately, I am not skilled with a spindle and don’t have children, so I have been cast into the 10th Circle of Hell, forced to watch Nicholas Cage movies… dubbed in German…for eternity.

Nicholas Cage macht die schlechtesten Filme der Welt

I have, voluntarily, signed up for this for 5 years. Hence, I am an idiot.

Ok, as usual, I have exaggerated. What actually happens, the company which holds my FSA (let’s call them Lucifer’sMinions,Inc.), holds my pre-tax dollars, and when you swipe your debit card at the doctor or pharmacy, Lucifer “pays” your doctor or pharmacy with your pre-tax dollars. When we first were offered this benefit, we were told, occasionally- OCCASIONALLY- we would have to send Lucifer justification for the expense. When that happens you have to send Lucifer my receipts to justify their releasing the funds. So you have prove to Satan the you have spent YOUR money appropriately. The required proof is a receipt (and not just a credit card receipt) with details, sent to Lucifer via Fax. And if you don’t prove it or they do not accept your proof or don’t receive your proof. Your claim is denied. And if Lucifer has already paid the claim (via the debit card) you have to reimburse Lucifer.

CEO, Lucifer’s Minions

If you google Lucifer’s Minions, Inc.- or actually, the REAL name of the company- you will see TONS of complaints about their processes and customer service, or disservice, as the case may be. I decided to read a few to see if I was the only one who wanted to plunge a knife in my chest every time I have to deal with them. It turns out, I’m NOT the only one who has problems.

The complaints have a few common themes. Repeated requests for substantiation, even though the client has already submitted the required paperwork. Non-confirmation of faxed receipts. Horrible customer service. Website is useless.

Shockingly, I, myself, have had a few- merely, a FEW, issues with Lucifer’s Minions, Inc. Firstly, I am asked to send in justification for EVERY single charge. Blackrock Dental Group? They can’t verify that this is a legitimate dental office. Retina Specialists of Connecticut? Probably not a REAL Retina Specialist. Dr. Tubes, Urologist- probably just a dummy operation. Ok, Dr. Tubes does sound fake…

Listen, I understand there is a ton of fraud out there. So ok, the first time I swipe my card at “Black Rock Dental,” I will need to send in a justification. But every, single, flippin’ time?

My filing system

There are also a lot of other annoying things for example, if you don’t send your receipts in VIA FAX in a timely manner, they cut off your card. Even if you DO send the receipts to Lucifer in a timely manner, they will cut off your card for any number of infractions.

Black Rock Dental seems to be a major issue with Lucifer. He constantly requires additional documentation from them. We had, at one point, established that Lucifier likes to see the word “co-pay” on any receipt. However, sometimes, even that is not enough. In 2011, our card was cut off for several months over a dental receipt, I sent the receipt to them numerous times, but they either didn’t receive it via their cutting edge technology of THE FAX MACHINE, or they didn’t accept the receipt as valid.

Fax receptical

In fact, our debit card has not worked since February 2012 due to, we were told, a missing Black Rock Dental receipt of Tony’s. I asked Tony to retrieve a more detailed receipt, oh, I don’t know, 700 times. But he did not. Meanwhile, we have been paying out of pocket, hundreds and hundreds of dollars for co-pays, treatments, prescriptions, meth, etc.

Finally, a few weeks ago, I decided to surrender. I waved the white flag. Lucifer could win this one- I would reimburse them the $63.49 we charged at Black Rock Dental in October 2011.

Color me French

I knew there was a special form one had to use to re-pay Lucifer, because I had to use it once before. I had to obtain said form, so I ventured onto the Lucifer’s Minions, Inc, website. I assure you, it is an exercise in futility. Nailing water to a tree is easier than navigating Lucifer’s website.

Even if you, miraculously, remember your password, Lucifer will, repeatedly, tell you it is incorrect, and then suspend your account for 24 hours. I learned this lesson the hard way, more than once, so now I keep the password (case and, apparently, MOOD sensitive) in a very secret and safe location. Even though I use the CORRECT password, I still have to use the “lost password” button. Lucifer is supposed to send you and email with your password, but it, literally, never comes. So, now I just change my password every time.

My password or the key to launch a nuclear war

Once on the website, you encounter broken links, links that never load. When you click on “forms” it tells you what form you need for what action, but no way to actually GET the form.

So… I have to do what I dread more than getting weighed at the doctor… I had to call Lucifer’s 800#. 1-800-666-HELL.
Thank you for calling Lucifer’s Minions, Inc. For English Press 1, Para oir esta mensaje en Espanol, pulse dos, “Чтобы услышать это сообщение на русском, нажмите три.” Once you get to your specific language, you are given multiple options, but none of them are anything you would ever choose.

For Pitchforks Press 1
For Forked Tail Repair Press 2
For Hitler’s HaHa Hut Press 3
For Account Balance Press 4
For Horn Sharpening Press 5
For Eternal Damnation Press 666

No option for “forms” or even to SPEAK TO A HUMAN. I proceeded to try all of the tricks. I babbled. I asked for Customer Service in various tones, and languages, and just screamed “Hellllllllllllllllllllllp,” I pressed 0. I pressed 0 a few times, and then I heard the phrase that makes me want to punch someone in the throat “I see you are having trouble… goodbye.” YOU KNOW I’M HAVING TROUBLE!!! THANKS FOR ABANDONING ME, YOU B*TCH!

Ok, so now I am steaming. Not quite boiling, but simmering. I call back. And of course, I was so blinded with rage, I have no recollection of HOW I did this, but I actually got a human being on the phone. Or at least she CLAIMED to be a human being. She said her name was Bonnie and she sounded American. And not non-American pretending to be American American.

Here we have, folks, The Bonnie Situation.


Look, you have to appreciate this Bonnie situation

I, immediately, told “Bonnie” that I was completely frustrated with Lucifer and all of his Minions, because every time I have any interaction with Lucifer or his Minions, it is frustrating, exasperating and infuriating.

Bonnie: I understand.

I explained the situation – and how I was SURRENDERING to Lucifer because they beat me, I’m tired of fighting for my OWN MONEY. I need the form to submit my $63.49 to reimburse Lucifer for The Black Rock Dental bill, from October 2011, that was unsubstantiated, despite the fact that I submitted my receipts 3 times. My card has been suspended since February…

Bonnie: Ok, let me check.



…Your call is very important to us, please stay on the line and someone will be with you shortly.


… Your call is very important to us, please stay on the line and someone will be with you shortly.


… Your call is very important to us, please stay on the line and someone will be with you shortly.

Bonnnie: Oh. Ok.

Me: Yes?

Bonnie: I see your card is suspended. But not because of a Black Rock Dental charge.

Me: It isn’t? Oh. That is the charge all of the communication from Lucifer is referring to?

Bonnie: Nope.

Me: So… what is the problem?

Bonnie: Your card is suspended due to four charges from 2008.

Me: WHAT?

Bonnie: Your card is suspended due to four charges from 2008.

Me: I did hear you, but I do not understand what you mean.

Bonnie: Your card is suspended due to four charges from 2008.

Me: I don’t really know what that means.

Bonnie: There are 4 charges made in 2008. We have suspended your card due to non-receipt of substantiation.

Me: Ok. What year is it now?

Bonnie: 2012

Me: And the charges are from what year?

Bonnie: 2008

Me: 2008? As in 4 years ago?

Bonnie: That’s right.

Me: Ok, so let me make sure I understand this.
The card worked in 2009.
The card worked in 2010.
The card worked in 2011.
And the card worked for 2 months in 2012. Until Lucifer told me it was suspending my card for a $63.49 charge that was unsubstantiated- despite my sending in substantiation 3 times.

Bonnie: That’s right.

Me: Does that sound a little crazy to you?

Bonnie: Your card is suspended due to four charges from 2008.

Me: How can my card work for 3 years AFTER these four charges?

Bonnie: Lucifer and his Minions performed an audit on your account and uncovered these four charges that were paid but never substantiated.

Me: I was never informed of the audit OR the findings. How is that possible?

Bonnie: I don’t know, but your card is suspended due to four charges from 2008.

Me: Let me ask you a question. As a human being, do you NOT think it’s a little insane?

Bonnie: Your card is suspended due to four charges from 2008.

Me: We’ve covered that, but can you answer my question? As a human being, do you NOT think it’s a little insane?

Bonnie: Your card is suspended due to…

Me: Bonnie! I got it- please answer my question. As a human being, do you NOT think it’s a little insane?

Bonnie: Your card is …

Me: BONNIE. Ohhhhh, I understand.. You can’t offer your personal opinion.

Bonnie: I can.

Me: You can? Ok, I’ll ask you again- as a human being, do you NOT think it’s a little insane?

Bonnie: No. I don’t. I don’t think it’s insane at all.

Me: Bonnie. We have just established that you are NOT HUMAN.

Can you tell me the date of service and the amounts of these four charges?

Bonnie: Ok. They are all Cigna Tele-Drug, 12/30/08 $20, 12/24/08 $80, 11/13/08 $60 11/12/08 $60

Me: That is odd because I keep pretty meticulous track of prescriptions, especially the ones I order through the mail.

Bonnie: May I put you on hold for 2 to 3 minutes?

Me: Sure! I’m already burning with rage and fury, 3 more minutes can ONLY help that situation.

I had to throw in a picture of The Clooney, just so I can calm down

HOLD Muzak… Your call is very important to us, please stay on the line and someone will be with you shortly…Build Me Up, Buttercup…Girl from Ipanema…Hound Dog … Your call is very important to us, please stay on the line and someone will be with you shortly….You’re So Vain…Just a Gigolo… Your call is very important to us, please stay on the line and someone will be with you shortly. Yup, longer than 3 minutes.

This is, literally, a picture of my 2008 & 2009 FSA files (note…I don’t even have kids, these are records for TWO people)

As I’m holding, I dig into my file. This is the files for 2008 & 2009. Miraculously, I find the charges in question… and then it all comes flooding back to me like a horrific, PTSD flashback… attached to the four receipts, I find 6 fax confirmations. 6. SIX. 6!!!! All transmitted successfully. The faxes are dated: 12/31/08, 1/12/09, 2/4/09, 2/15/09, 3/21/09 and finally 6/30/09. Attached to the 6/30/09 transmission is a note in BIG BOLD BLACK LETTERS, it says “This is the 6th (SIXTH) time I have faxed these receipts. Please, please, I beg you, my card has been suspended for 4 months. Please unblock my card. I’m begging here…” There are also 2 dates and two names written (which means I must have, also, called them twice) 2/15/09- Michael and 6/30/09- Bonnie.

BONNIE?!?!!? BONNIE!!!!! Ok, granted there could be more than one Bonnie. But, it’s not like Caitlyn or Lauren where there is 7,000,000 of them. Bonnie is not the most common name, at present. Freakin’ Bonnie.

Oh… I’m wooled. Steam actually could be coming out of my ears. I’m rehearsing the verbal sh*t-kicking I am going to give Bonnie when she gets back on the phone. Bonnie is going to wish she was never born. Bonnie is going to RUE the day she tangled with me. Bonnie is going to reduced to a puddle of sobbing snot and tissues.

Bonnie: Miss Moore?

Me: Yes.

Bonnie: Your card is reactivated.

Me: Excuse me?

Bonnie: Your card is reactivated.

Me: How?

Bonnie: I reactivated it.

Well. I did ask.

Me: But what about the outstanding, supposedly UNSUBSTANTIATED charges?

Bonnie: I referred to your file and it appears you sent in the substantiating paperwork 3 times.

Me: Oh, only 3? I have proof of 6.

Bonnie: So your card is now working. Would you like a Reference # for this conversation?

Me: You betcha.

Bonnie: Sure. 8675309. Thank you and have a nice day.

Wait! Where is my justifiable temper tantrum? Do I not get to hear Bonnie BEG for mercy? Where is my pound of flesh?!?!

It turns out “pound of flesh” is not covered under my current plan. I’ll need to get a receipt and fax it in.

Addendum: I had to go to the ER last week, and I swiped my FSA for the $100 co-pay. I was STILL IN THE ER when I received an email, on my phone, requesting “substantiation.”  Jerks.

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One Response to “Substantiate THIS”

  1. urbf Says:

    Not surprisingly, this sounds REMARKABLY like a government-administered healthcare program! Only in addition to the newfangled fax, if I need to communicate with them I also have the option to snail-mail into the abyss, *OR* (since if I hear the excuse “it must’ve gotten lost in the mail” one more time, I will have to immolate myself on their front step — and I imagine they’d require submission of actual skin to cover burn treatment, should I survive… and since I don’t know how to copy SKIN for when they invariably lose the first submission, I choose to go with) an old-fashioned letter can be dropped off INSIDE their building, through the slot in an antique, wooden ballot box they maintain in their fortress-like lobby for just this purpose. Said box is literally watched over by out of work professional wrestlers outfitted in security guard uniforms, who will politely assist with the challenging task of dropping your letter though the slot (probably in several languages, although I have only tried dropping ’em in in American English). I believe the desk the box sits on cleverly conceals the hidden chute directly beneath the letterbox, through which all the inserted correspondence goes directly down into the bowels of Hell, safely incinerating them before a worker ever has a chance of seeing it. This is a good system because it gives the security guards something to do other than only keeping the clients(/patients) from getting inside beyond the lobby, where they might come in contact with their caseworkers (heaven forbid!)

    Oh yeah– one other difference is that the government-run program saves time and money by not offering phone contact at all. Well, there ARE phones in the building — I assume the caseworkers need to use them for something or other (ordering pizza, or a hooker AND a pizza, perhaps?)… but if one of us crazies gets hold of an actual working phone number, we’ll hear a recording to leave a message in the worker’s voicemailbox… which is only accessible if you have that person’s closely guarded box #. Of course there is a directory, but you need the caseworker’s NAME… and I honestly don’t believe my worker’s parents (Mr. & Mrs. Worker) chose Social for their infant’s first name, who then grew up to use the title of General — but that’s what is listed on the paperwork under Social Worker’s name: General Social Worker. I did hear this person’s voice on the telephone one day, and I’m pretty darn sure The General is female. It’s a useful tidbit, but unfortunately gender alone is not enough identifying information to be able to nail down the specific individual that is SUPPOSED to be helping me… . But you get the picture…

    USPS (automatically deemed “lost”), hand-delivery (instantly incinerated, hence “lost”), fax (eLost?) and no means of phone contact… . Potentially equally frustrating, with possibly even less opportunity to take it out on someone! It just may be time to watch the movie Sicko again… %-p (I’ll bring the popcorn)

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