No doubt, like most of you, Sir and I have new health insurance, which we discovered much to our chagrin, is about as useful as a back pocket on a T-shirt. Fabulous like a screen door on a submarine, or indeed, as a fish with a bicycle.

Because our deductible has reached almost epic proportions in order to keep the premium lowish, we found that although the insurance company (a.k.a. Godzilla – a monster to be loathed and feared) deems that it will cover preventative screenings – mammograms, colonoscopies, prostate tests for example – it has decided in its infinite wisdom that a stress test for the heart is not apparently viewed as a preventative test, and is therefore not covered and the deductible therefore must come into play.

So you can imagine Sir’s jaw-dropping experience the other day when he went for a stress test – which is, after all, a run on a treadmill while being hooked up to a couple of machines – to be asked how he would like to pay for the $1,400 bill owing above and beyond the deductible.

Well, Sir immediately responded that he wouldn’t like to pay it at all, and therefore would not. He took his hrumph and his elevated blood pressure, and, like Elvis, left the building.

Presumably Godzilla would prefer to pay for the treatment of an actual heart attack instead – generous of it I suppose, but it can hardly be seen as pro-active behavior.

Like all good wives, I have come up with a much cheaper alternative to the $6,500 stress test.

Try this one – call AT&T, and try to find out why a business phone has been disconnected for non-payment of a bill, when you haven’t even received a bill.

“What’s the three digit number after the phone number on your bill?”

“Well, I don’t have it, as I haven’t actually got a bill; I would just like to pay it.”

“Well how much are you going to pay?”

“How much is the bill?”

“Oh I can’t tell you that, you haven’t been verified.”

“Scuse me? I’m offering YOU money, not the other way around.”

“No, sorry, cannot divulge such things for security reasons.”

Trying a different tack, I asked “What is the billing address you have?” Well, that went over like a lead balloon, as that was a breach of security, the likes of which the White House hasn’t even seen. The agent to whom I was speaking I think is secretly in training to go work for Godzilla.

OK, let’s try this one.

“How am I ever going to pay the bill if I don’t have the information you require and which has become quite obvious that you’re not going to give me”?

Suffice it to say – after two and a half hours of stroke inducing stupidity – I managed to get the blessed thing paid - Monty Python has nothing on AT&T, I tell you.

I tell you what though, I passed the stress test.

Annie Dear lives in Lee’s Summit. Email her at