Wednesday, December 18, 2013

It was the Nightmare Before Christmas: 'Part ? of The Nightmare Continues'

God grant me the serenity to accept the people I cannot change, the courage to change the one I can, and the wisdom to know it's me. 
Author unknown, variation of an excerpt from "The Serenity Prayer" by Reinhold Neibuhr

Yesterday it was a lot slipperier than I thought it was.  Well, actually, it wasn't so bad when I left in the morning, but by the time it was time to come home, the sidewalks had become fairly treacherous. The snow was still coming down, most hadn't really shoveled.  You could actually see the ice under the snow.  I had had a few items to pick up at Pathmark, but decided that they can wait.  

So, I met with the social worker yesterday, and she spend almost two hours with me making phone calls and trying to get my Medicare straightened out.  Medicare referred us to Emblem who referred us to Maxim who referred us back to Emblem who referred us back Medicare who referred us to Social Security who referred us back to Medicare who referred us back to Emblem.  Unbelievable, right?  I know if she hadn't written a list of the above down for me, I wouldn't have believed it either. 
And, after that, here is what we discovered:

Thankfully my penalty is NOT going to be $20 a month.  It will be a dollar a month.  I can deal with that, although it is the principal of the matter that makes me want to appeal.  It seems that I was never sent the paperwork explaining in detail that I MUST have Part D in place before October 1st.  Their error.  

But Medicare can't do anything about it.  I can appeal at Maxim. This is an organization that helps Medicare recipients with their cases. But, they informed us that I cannot appeal until after the penalty takes effect in January. Plain ridiculous if you ask me.

Then we discovered that Emblem will send me a coupon book to make my penalty payments.  Medicare will pay Emblem the $104.90, and I am responsible for the dollar.  It turns out that the salesman had not asked if I wanted it to go directly from Medicare to Emblem.  Who knew?  Their mistake.  So now I have to send payment of a dollar once a month.  How much do stamps cost now?  They are sending me a form for me to fill out giving them permission to take the money directly from my Social Security check, but that won't take effect until March...even if I send it in now.  

Have I lost you yet?  I know I'm lost. And I consider myself one of the lucky ones who not only has a social worker to help them, but also that I have the experience of working in the field.  I may not have worked directly with Medicare or Social Security, but I am well aware of how government bureaucracies work.  I pity those poor seniors who have no one to help them.  Would they be able to maneuver all those hours of phone calls and really understand what was said to them?  I have been thinking that, since this has been such a learning experience for me, I may take what I have learned and volunteer to help those who need someone to help.

Then, when I get home there is a letter in the mail from the health care center I chose.  It seems my doctor will no longer be working there...and I haven't even met him yet.  They offered me a choice between two other doctors, but the reason I chose the one I did was because he was affiliated with a hospital close to my home. The others were not.  Now what do I do?  

On the plus side, I discovered today that there a District Attorney who volunteers her time every other Tuesday to help seniors with their legal issues.  She's off now until after the holidays, but it is good to know should the union continue giving me problems with my pension.  It doesn't add up to a court case per se, but sometimes just getting someone with authority shows them that you are not fooling around.

And so, my friends, that was the gist of my day.  When I wasn't slipping and sliding on the ice, I was dealing with dealing with all the above nonsense.  Thank goodness for the blessings of quiet evenings, Christmas flicks, and hot chocolate with marshmallows. 

 When the world says, "Give up,"
Hope whispers, "Try it one more time."

Author Unknown


  1. $1 a month penalty is much better than $20 but still, how ridiculous! Collecting and processing that $1 will cost them much more in staff time and wages than it's worth. Plus, as you say, it's all due to their own errors anyway.

  2. PHEW!
    U can bet ur "sweet arse", that those that made these so called "rules", will not have to abide by them. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

  3. This is absolutely ridiculous! What is WRONG with these people? I've never heard of anything quite like it. They are the ones who have made the mistakes, and you have to pay for them in so many ways. Hugs Mary. I hope it gets better soon, and they get their heads on straight...