For the past week or so Rey and I have been screening calls that at first asked to speak to 'the diabetic in the house', which ticked me off to start with because, hi, I'm a person, not a disease demographic. Later they seem to have changed their script, or perhaps it was a slip up the first time, because today I answered one myself that asked to speak to 'the person in the household with diabetes'. Because I am that, and because I had nothing better to do, I answered 'that would be me'.
The caller proceeded to tell me they were part of the USA Health Initiative and wanted to make sure I had the supplies and whatnot I needed. If I hadn't already been wary, that would have done it, although I can see why someone ill-informed might assume Obamacare could work that way ("Hello, this is the US government, just checking to see if you need any medical care today?"). Anyway, long story short is it took about two more questions for them to find out I had no insurance/Medicare/Medicaid and was paying out of pocket and visiting free clinics for care, which resulted in a "Oh, thank you for your time." And a prompt hang-up.
I am irritated on many levels. Is this a thing now, people? Is marketing based on chronic illness becoming a thing? Do I need to watch not only for fake charities that want my money but also fake healthcare organizations that want my insurance information/personal data? It's obvious this was targeting the insured, because yeah, insurance companies are where the money's at, but how long will that last?
I'm tempted, if they ever call again, to ask more questions, because they did ask if I had Medicare first of all. If they're calling people (elderly people!) up to offer 'help' which they can then charge on Medicare, that's fucking fraud. The idea of these people calling men and women like the guy I've been caregiving for and talking them into ordering medical supplies they don't need and racking up charges on Medicare when there have been these huge talks about budget cuts including cuts that would alter the balance between what the government pays for Medicare services and what the individual pays---argh. I want to find them and offer to take their blood glucose readings for them WITH A MEAT CLEAVER.
All that having been said, I'm at least relatively convinced this was a cold call, rather than a call from some asshole telemarketing firm that has my actual demographic data. That kind of data share would be so very very illegal, but with diabetes on the rise, you can't throw a stone without hitting someone who has one form or another. I'm not sure whether I like the idea of randomly targeted medical marketing--actually, scratch that, I'm positive I hate it--but I like less the idea that signing up for patient assistance programs has sent my name and data into the grasping, greedy little hands of these asshats.
ETA: Okay, scratch part of that last paragraph. According to this BBB article, it's not hard to find leads for specific people with diabetes in all 50 states. I guess I should have less faith in the system, but on the other hand, I am willingly outing my health status in a livejournal entry, so maybe I should expect this kind of thing.