Mr. Bockstein was most pleasant during our less than ten minute conversation just now (most of it on hold, granted, while he looked under the file number on the letter he mistakenly sent me). He soon told me to forget about that letter, it had been sent to me in error.
The initial wait to speak to him was less than 40 seconds, which is great. The wait when he looked up his erroneous letter to me, after I explained I’d received it in error and read him the reference number he’d assigned, was less than five minutes, again, quite reasonable. The letter under reference number 1369393, it turns out, was not responsive to my complaint. OK, mistakes happen.
“Obviously it was meant to go to somebody else,” I said when he confirmed that his letter about my complaint against two entities I’d never heard of had been sent to me by mistake, “my concern is that I wrote a long and very detailed policy-related letter to the Attorney General and I’m not sure why I was getting a response from your subdivision of his office.”
“Do you remember what it was about?” he asked me. “Because I’m not finding…”
“My letter was, the cover letter was two pages and there were about twenty pages of attachments. I was proposing legislation to remedy some terrible oversight problems with healthcare and the administration of the PPACA in New York State, and my letter…”
“Hold on, hold on,” he said, still trying to make sense of why he couldn’t find any trace of my complaint in his system. Then he confirmed the spelling of my name and asked me to hold. This time he remained on the line as I waited. He was breathing in an exasperated manner because his computer was apparently buggering him while I held. He let out one long, loud, exasperated exhalation, then continued to breathe more or less normally as I waited for him to find my name. He let out another exaggerated breath and said imploringly “come on, computer, will you please?” It was nice to be speaking to a human being, I thought idly to myself.
“OK,” I finally said, “so actually, my question is how can that letter be placed in the hands of an assistant that reads policy and proposed legislation-related letters for the A.G.?”
“Well, that would have to go to… hang on a minute…. did you file a complaint?”
“No, I never filed a complaint with your bureau.”
“You didn’t file a complaint about Healthfirst and the Marketplace?”
“No, the letter discussed Healthfirst, and the Marketplace, and a number of other things. It also discussed Blue Cross/Blue Shield and some systemic problems… basically it was a description of the cul du sac of consumer help that anyone who has any problem with health insurance finds himself in in New York State and it was proposing several ways to…”
Mr. Bockstein, whose computer had apparently just released its uninvited, amorous, two-handed grip on his waist interrupted to give me the good news. “Your complaint was assigned to one of our advocates. Her name is Jennifer Lonergan and she will be responding to you based on your complaint. As for that other one, just ignore it.”
“Well, I mean, I can certainly ignore it,” I agreed, “but I, you know, I was hoping it was not the end of a letter I spent a lot of time writing.”
“No, no-no, no, no,” assured Mr. Bockstein at once, “your complaint has been assigned to an advocate, it’s being reviewed and the advocate will respond to you.”
I confirmed the spelling of the advocate’s name, he gave me my correct file number and I thanked him very much.
“OK,” he said affably enough.
My recording ends with a long exhalation by me, a moment after I pressed disconnect to end the call with Mr. Bockstein.