jayellebee's Blog

January 8, 2014

Lucky Me

Lucky MeYou may not know this, but I’m special. I’m one of what the leader of the free world calls “a small group” of Americans who’s individual medical insurance was cancelled as of January 1st. Thank you, Affordable Care Act.

I recognize our system needed an overhaul. Honest. I get it. A family member has not been able to qualify for insurance due to a pre-existing condition. But, just perhaps, our government has christened and launched the ship before the hull was proven to be sea-worthy.

My situation would be amusing, if it wasn’t MY situation.

The Feds told my carrier to extend my coverage – as well as that of the handful of others bobbing along in my leaky boatLucky Me 2 – until March 31st. For the briefest of moments, I stopped bailing and enjoyed a flood of relief.

Medicare will welcome me to official senior citizen status come April 1st. The extension meant my private insurance would end one day and Medicare would fill the void the very next. My broker congratulated me on my perfect timing. We’ve never met face-to-face, otherwise she probably would have also congratulated me on my perfect teeth, posture and immaculate home. But I digress….

Sometimes you just know in your bones when something has been too easy.

Lucky Me 3California’s Insurance Commissioner, concerned the proposed extension would slow the flotilla of applicants hell bent on anchoring in the sheltered waters of Covered California, nixed the idea. “We need to encourage people to apply for coverage sooner and do nothing that would cause them to delay until later,” he decreed. Or, words to that effect.

So, just as I was stowing my oars and life vest, my dinghy bobbed into rough water. Family members in another state had posted social media stories of their failed attempts to navigate the electronic portal to Obamacare. Alarmed by their problems, I took time to investigate my options.

Make that option. As in one.

Anthem Blue Cross will insure me. The only decision became which “metal” tier to purchase: bronze, silver, gold or Luck Me 3platinum. Feeling as though I were trying out for the winter olympics (USA, USA), I charted the cost and coverage at each level. The conclusion became obvious. What Olympian worth their red, white and blue marching clothes doesn’t want to go for the gold?

My fingers flexed, my shoulders stretched, I cleaned my glasses and took deep, cleansing breaths. The application process was as smooth as kayaking downstream in a strong current. I printed out the email verifying my applicant status and immediately shot the struggling family members living in a state to my east a note about moving back to sunny California where insurance might not be plentiful, but the going was easy. My last glance at the Covered California website assured me I would be contacted by Anthem regarding payment of my premium.

That was December 12th.

Lucky Me 5No agent called. No invoice arrived. Newscasters warned coverage set to begin on January 1st would be cancelled unless payment was received by New Year’s Eve. Way to throw a wet blanket on the end-of-the-year blowout. I imagined the frantic throng gathered in Times Square working their iGadgets as the ball dropped.

Sheer willpower and perseverance led me to an Anthem online site for making my payment. I entered the required data, including the three digit security code on the back of my credit card and clicked on “submit.” A tiny pop-up, popped up. Submission Failure. For some reason, the site believed my name was wrong. Really? My name? I tried omitting the period after my middle initial.

Submission Failure.

I spelled out my middle name.

Submission Failure.

I tried this and that. Failure. Failure. After so many wild guesses I lost count, my name was suddenly accepted! But then there was an issue with my credit card information. I tried a different card, same result. Direct debit? That payment choice, clearly listed on the screen, was identified as a non-functioning option.

For no apparent reason, after 20-ish minutes I received an email confirming my payment submission had been Lucky Me 4received. However, there was no hint as to which card or EFT had gone through. Whee! There’s going to be a thousand dollar surprise at the end of the current billing cycle. Oh, did I mention my former non-Affordable Care (cancelled) insurance would’ve cost $200 a month less? Grrrr.

After a week of checking transaction histories on both cards and my checking account, the payment has still not been processed. But that’s okay because the deadline has been extended. Again. Now I have until January 15th to pay for my new coverage and it will still be effective as of the first.

Covered California emailed me today with contact information for Anthem applicants.

I called the number listed for those two or three of us who have not yet received an invoice. Five minutes of picking my way through the menu’s mine field brought me to a robo-message. “Due to the unexpectedly high call volume resulting from The Affordable Care Act, your call cannot be taken at this time. Please try again later.”

None of this would be that annoying except for a couple of little problems. First, I have an appointment with a new doctor coming up next week. I scheduled this consultation waaaay back in October. When I thought I had insurance. Second, my prescription drug coverage has drifted out-to-sea, but my need for those meds is cruising full speed ahead. Judging by the uninsured prices, I’m sailing first class these days.

Hey, is that a creek up ahead? Damn. Where did I leave my paddle?

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3 Comments »

  1. Millions agree with what you have written but our representatives in Washington just do not listen to what we tell them!

    Comment by Pete — January 8, 2014 @ 9:09 pm | Reply

  2. Only you can turn a government disaster into a funny story. Thanks for making me laugh, Joanne.

    Comment by Chris Pedersen — January 9, 2014 @ 3:06 pm | Reply

  3. A very funny blog post, if it weren’t such a non-funny story. How could he have lied so brazenly to the American people. There is email evidence that he knew in 2010 that premiums would be higher than the existing insurance but he hid that info and told us all that they wouldn’t. Imagine if we had known that (and the Benghazi cover-up!) before the 2012 election. Mitt Romney would probably in the White House!

    Comment by Bee Hylinski - Author and Baseball Fan — January 12, 2014 @ 7:31 pm | Reply


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