October 1: Giddly apply for insurance via our State Exchange. Learn our bill will go from $870 to $430. Am happy. Realize that it will go up to as high as $700 when increases in my writing royalties from 2013 to 2104 are taken into account. Still happy.
October 1: Locked out of the state exchange because, as we have all since learned, it didn’t work well. Repeat this scenario about four times.
Mid October: Realize I input our income wrong and our first bill will be about $700. Cancel debit card so they can’t take the money from me. Begin a conversation about trying to change that information. Am told that it won’t be a problem and I can report the change in January. (First bill due 12/23.)
Later in October: Learn that to qualify for my insurance I have to provide proof of: Income, proof of citizen ship, social security enrollment, and non-incarcerated status for my husband, two elementary aged children and I.
November: My husband gets a new job. He is given insurance and the option to enroll all of us. His boss says, “But don’t do it, it’s way too expensive.” This means we no longer qualify for any tax discounts even though his take home pay is now slightly lower (darned Oregon income tax!)
December. January. February: Continue to attempt to dis-enroll from the government discount insurance since I do not qualify. Am told: “Don’t worry. If you don’t pay it we will automatically dis-enroll you.
December 29th: Enroll children and I in private HSA.
January through February: Monkey around with that private insurance because husband needs gap insurance. Insurance company puts Daniel and one of my kids on gap plan, me and two of my kids on our plan. These shenanigans go on and on.
March: Begin to receive overdue notices for the plan I have been trying to dis-enroll from since November 2013.
But it’s not over.
February: Realize that my HSA will cost me $17.600 cash every year before any insurance benefits kick in, and that the HSA savings account only allows me to save $6000 a year to pay this. Cancel HSA. Buy real insurance from better company. Cost for Silver Level Insurance for one year before shared benefits kick in: $7900.
March: Take the kids for a dental cleaning. With our proper insurance these cleanings will be free.
On to the narrative.
I walk up to the desk at the dentist and say, “I have new insurance here is my card. This is different from the insurance I had last time. Please change the insurance you are using for us.” Hand over card.
About a half an hour later the billing specialist comes to me and says, “We couldn’t find your insurance in our system so I ran some numbers of something similar to find out how much you will owe us. Here.” Passes me paper full of dollar signs.
“If you just picked a random insurance plan and ran numbers for us your numbers are wrong. I gave you my new insurance card. Please call that number.” I look down at the paper again and see the insurance company I have been trying to disentangle myself from for the last five months.
“But I called this number and they found you in the system.”
“I am not a member of that insurance company. I have a new insurance company and I gave you the card. Please go and call them.”
“But they have you in the system.”
“That is not my insurance. Please go call the number on my card and give them our identification information. Then you will know how much I owe you. Our insurance is Regence. Not the company you called.”
“But they have you in their system.”
“They are not my insurance company. Please call my insurance company. I gave you my identification card. I have been trying to dis-enroll from that other insurance since November 2103 and every time you call them and look for me you make my job harder. The situation is bad, frustrating and confusing. I’m thinking of taking legal action. I gave you my insurance card. Please call my current insurance and only use that card.”
“But they have you in their system.”
The billing specialist decides to mix it up a little, to help me understand why I can’t be right. “I think you are wrong because sometimes Regence hires out other companies to manage their insurance.”
“I know that. And I know that Regence owns the company you spoke with. But they are not my insurer and you have the wrong information and I do not have that insurance. I gave you my insurance card. It has my family group ID number on it. Please call Regence to find out what my coverage is.”
“But this company has you in their system.”
Deep breath. Look for my hand gun. Remember that I am anti-gun and that if I shoot myself I can’t drive the kids home. “Call Regence. You have the card. I gave it to you.”
“Well, fine, but it’s going to be a while.”
Cast a glance at my kids. Dentist is 45 minutes behind schedule and they haven’t been taken in yet though they ought to have already been back at school (or close to.) “I’m not going anywhere.”
Ten minutes later kids go back for their cleaning.
Ten more minutes later billing specialist comes back. “That was so weird. You do have Regence insurance.”
“Great, thank you. How much do I owe?”
“Well, it looks like nothing.”
(Okay, I only thought duh.)
Hope everyone else is having just as much fun with insurance reform as I am having!
And hey, if you find yourself waiting somewhere while a billing specialist attempts to ruin your life, you can while away your time reading one of my free mysteries!