Last Friday, I received an email from Vicki Paris Goodman, our longtime entertainment writer, about her own experience with the subject of my column last week– Judd McIlvain. Below is her email:
Neen, I really enjoyed your column today. Judd McIlvain once did me a huge (and very impressive, I thought) favor…
It must have been 1992 or 1993, and I’d fallen in the kitchen of my Carson Street apartment in Bixby Knolls. I had been standing on a step stool trying to take the curtain down from over the kitchen sink. The bar was stuck and, in my infinite impatience, I tugged at it…hard. When it gave way, I went flying off the step stool and onto the floor, landing on the side of my knee. I’ll never forget the excruciating pain. I thought I’d broken my leg in a hundred places. When the paramedics arrived, they were training seven– yes, seven– of the hunkiest firemen you’ve ever seen. But I digress…
So, after Long Beach Memorial had addressed what turned out to be a severe knee sprain, fixing me up with a cast and crutches, I made the appropriate claim to my medical insurance through Kaiser Permanente. Months later, Kaiser had been experiencing various labor strikes and was taking forever to process my claim. In the meantime, I had been receiving bills from the ambulance company and Long Beach Memorial. Finally, I began to receive letters threatening to take my account to collections. Well, given that I am just a tad compulsive about debt acquisition and bill paying, having never missed a bill payment of any kind, and, in fact, having never even made a late payment, this lack of timely attention to my claim was rather upsetting to me.
In a concerted effort to save my 800+ FICO score without resorting to paying the bills myself, I decided to dispense with the hitherto ineffective weekly calls to Kaiser claims processing and take more aggressive action. I called the famous TV consumer advocate Judd McIlvain to see if his reputation for helping out the “little guy” was deserved.
About a half hour after calling Judd’s office, I received a call from Kaiser claims processing. The apparently shell-shocked woman on the phone anxiously assured me that the claim had been fully paid. She then earnestly beseeched me to call her directly if I should ever experience another claims problem in the future and begged me not to complain about Kaiser to Mr. McIlvain ever again.