Thursday, December 12, 2013
A week, already? Egads!
I didn't go north last week. I didn't get everything finished that I had to do before I left, and, in fact, I'm not finished YET.
I really screwed some stuff up. For the past 19 years, along about October, I'd get the package from IBM about the medical insurance coverage for the next year. Choices/changes had to be made by the end of December (earlier, if you wanted the new medical cards by January 1). If there was nothing you wanted to change, you did nothing, and you got the same coverage continued. For 19 years, IBM taught me that the package could be safely ignored.
So I ignored it.
I should have known better. IBM is (surprise) no longer offering the group packages. They have seized the opportunity to dump all the retirees and "allow" us to get individual coverage through an exchange. After all these years of experience with IBM, why am I surprised? I should have expected that.
They are being so gracious about it, they have contracted with a company to discuss our needs with us, and help us choose what works best for us. In other words, they hired people to navigate the government website for us.
So I freaked out last week and started studying the materials. I will still have Medicare, of course, but I still will need a medical supplement, and something for prescriptions, and of course I don't know what I'll do for dental and vision. (Oddly enough, dental and vision insurance coverage is the ONLY advertising junk mail that hasn't been arriving.) And if I don't have the prescription thing nailed down by 12/31 and then find out I have to go with Medicare part D, I will have to pay a penalty for the rest of my life.
So, I read all the materials and went to the recommended we-will-help-you website and tried to set up my profile. Yeah, sure. It wouldn't accept it because "You must provide a number greater than 0" --- but I had filled in every space, and all numbers were greater than 0, and the site wouldn't tell me where I went wrong. Nothing was flagged. I tried everything, including starting over from scratch, and after four hours I gave up.
So I called the we-will-help-you folks, the option for people without computer access. There was only an hour and a half wait. The woman asked me if I had my Medicare card in hand. Well, I said no (I can be stupidly honest. I can't find it, haven't seen it since my hospital stay last January), but I have all the information from the card. She informed me she couldn't help me until I had the actual card, and, in effect, hung up on me.
I called Social Security and asked for a replacement card, was told ok, we'll mail it, but it will take 4 to 6 weeks to arrive! No, they can't expedite it. Yes, if I don't sign up for Part D by 12/31 and it turns out I need it, I will pay the penalty rate every year for the rest of my life.
I freaked out. Then I remembered that my doctor's office had made a copy of my Medicare card, so I called there, and I now have a copy. Not the original, but I'm not going to tell anybody that. Turns out Medicare had screwed up my name slightly on the card, and if I don't use the exact same name nobody can accept it, and I had naively thought they'd used my real name. (I'm beginning to hate the world.)
So tomorrow, I call again, and try again.
In the meantime, cash flow is a problem. I'm waiting for a large check from my investments, but my car insurance and the insurance on the country house were due, so I went to their websites and put those payments on a credit card.
I have only two credit cards, by choice. Also by choice, one of them has a very high limit, and the other has a very low limit, also by choice. I use the low limit card for all low-trust online business and anytime anyone wants to walk away with it so that if anyone "steals" it, they can't get much.
Yup. I screwed up. I used the low limit card for both, and together they are going to blow the limit, so ONE of them will "bounce", but I don't know which.
I spent several hours today on calls to the insurance companies, the credit card company (I had them transfer cash from one of my checking accounts to the credit card, THEN found out that will take 4 to 6 days!) So I tried to have the limit raised, but was told I had to go to the issuing bank to have that done. So, I call the issuing bank. They need to send me an application to raise the limit, which I have to have notarized and send back. (I call B.S. on that! They used to send me letters telling me they'd raised my limit, isn't that wonderful, and then I'd have to call them and say no, I WANT to keep that low.) That's not going to help.
So, one of my insurance policies is in jeopardy, and I don't know which. I guess when I get the cancellation letter, I'll just call and switch it to the other credit card.
On top of all that.............................................
Let's just say I've been running flat out for more than a week, I'm tired, I still have to get the van inspected, there's four inches of snow out there, the van is covered in ice, the BMW has ANOTHER tire losing air, and we can expect below freezing temperatures (way below average for this time of the year) for the foreseeable future. I haven't made it to the country house yet, so I haven't put antifreeze in the toilets and drains yet (I think I did at least leave the water turned off after the last visit), so if the house loses power, well, I don't want to think about it. Especially if it's that insurance that might get temporarily cancelled.
I am way way behind on correspondence.
I think I'll go to bed now.