Thursday, January 12, 2017

Red Tape

Today held all sorts of frustrations. We've been fighting an ongoing battle with Social Security, Medicare and our insurance company Blue Cross. It's gotten so bad that our credit history has taken a couple of dings. I went ahead and paid the medical bills that they're squabbling over who has to pay. I hope today's actions finally resolve this confusion and I get reimbursed from Blue Cross.

Remember Jim retired July 2015? September of this year he was eligible for Medicare. There's just one problem with that. I will not be Medicare eligible for nine more years. Which means if Jim switched to Medicare his employer issued Blue Cross policy would cancel, which would leave me uninsured. We did the numbers a bunch of different ways, including having me sign up for insurance through the ACA exchange before we decided because of my severe asthma problems that he needed to decline Medicare and keep our family insurance policy. None of the offered policies came anywhere near what we already had. Our youngest is still on it too as long as she's in grad school.

So in early August when he started receiving a flood of Medicare information Jim went down to our local Social Security office and signed the paperwork to opt out. The first of September they started taking the Medicare insurance premium out of his retirement check.

Many phone calls and many visits later it's come down to our insurance company, Blue Cross Federal Employee Program, refusing to pay more than a very small portion of his medical bills because they think Medicare is primary, no matter what Medicare says to them on the phone. Today we faxed all the paperwork to Blue Cross that proves it was declined in early August. I hope this resolves this as we've been working on straightening out this mess since September. At least in December they finally refunded all the Medicare premiums they'd taken since Jim declined.

In the meantime I've been dealing with angry billing depts at UVA and our local chiropractor, who are also insisting we pay up front since Medicare is rejecting paying and Blue Cross is only giving them payment on what they calculate is the remainder after Medicare.

That was the morning but the afternoon wasn't any better. I was on the phone and internet with the state DMV. Back in late December, before Christmas, I renewed the registration on our son's car, paying for it online, downloaded and printing out a temporary registration. We're bumping up against the expiration date on that temporary registration and the stickers for the license plates and registration are not here yet. Starting to freak out. They told me that none of that had been mailed until 2 days ago even if I payed before the holidays. They are blaming the holidays but I've never run up against this before and I've been dealing with renewing our car registrations online for over ten years now. Usually you get the registration in a week tops. Of course the local DMV office is taking off for two days for MLK Day too, tomorrow and Monday. They told me I have to wait another two weeks before I can claim the registration is lost in the mail and give me another one.

Government bureaucracy at it's finest. And I suspect it's all about to get much worse. I think others are feeling that way too because I heard yesterday that the government division my husband worked for suddenly filled all their vacant job slots for the first time in years, flooding the division to full capacity. I can only think it's because of they fear what our new president might do to the dept.


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