Tuesday, June 07, 2016

Thoughts on Obamacare, my $7,000 bill from Freeman, Trump and Hillary

One of the best things that has happened to me in my six decades is that I have finally learned to laugh about some of the ridiculous things that happen everyday.

That wasn't always my approach as those who have known me for a long time can tell you. There was a time when I became upset about things like people holding up traffic to make a left turn or driving at 35 miles per hour when there is no place to pass.

At some point, though, whether it was because of maturity or just reaching the realization that there was nothing I could do to prevent these things from happening

My more mellow older self was put to the test yesterday when I opened the mail and received a bill for nearly $7,000 from Freeman for the anesthesia that was used during my recent triple bypass surgery.

I have insurance. Why wasn't it taking care of this?

I immediately picked up my phone to call Freeman and get to the bottom of whatever was going on. It was at that point, I discovered that my phone (landline) was not working. It had a dial tone, but it cut out every few seconds and I could not place a call.

I used my cell phone to call the landline phone and it did not ring, but then I called the number to pick up my messages and apparently, my voice mail was working and I had a message from the accounting office at Freeman asking me to call.

(Continued below the advertisement)

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A few moments later, I did and was put on hold, being told that five callers were ahead of me. I waited patiently until it was down to two and then I was cut off. I called back immediately and was told I had five callers in front of me.

I surprised myself by patiently waiting as the countdown to a conversation with a real human being took place. Finally, a pleasant-sounding woman told me they thought they should let me know that my insurance company, which shall remain nameless, but which rhymes with Loventry, had told the hospital that I had not paid my premiums.

I found that interesting, since the payments to my insurance company are automatically deducted from my checking account. I thanked her for letting me know, finished the conversation, then called the insurance company.

I only had to wait 10 minutes to talk to a real person and a polite gentleman called up my account, and said, "I can't figure out what's going on here."

He quickly confirmed (as my bank statements already had for me) that I had not missed a single payment. He promised to take care of it for me.

I had a call from a woman at my insurance company today, but unfortunately, the call was to my landline phone, which won't be repaired until Wednesday, according to AT&T (at least, the problem is on AT&T's end so I won't have to pay for that). I called the number and dialed the extension, and of course, reached the woman's voice mail, which promised my call would be returned in an hour. That was 3:30 p.m. and I am still waiting.

And for some reason, I am not upset about it.

Some background on my insurance company

As some readers may recall, I was one of the first wave to enroll in Obamacare in 2013 and for one year received my insurance for $3 a month.

For the second year, my insurance company, which has a name that also rhymes with Doventry, increased my premium to $68 a month and when it came time for this year, it was increased to close to $200 a month.

So I decided to return to the Health Exchange and go through the Obamacare enrollment once more and I enrolled in the same package which the same insurance company was poised to charge me nearly $200 a month for $26 a month.

I would have had a better deal the previous year if I had re-enrolled in Obamacare, but for obvious reasons, that is not something your insurance company feels obliged to tell you.

About Hillary Clinton's victory

I am not terribly excited about the nomination of Hillary Clinton as the Democratic candidate for president of the United States, but I am excited about watching history take place as a woman finally receives the nomination of a major party for president.

Why did it take so long?

I grew up with names like Golda Meir in Israel and Indira Gandhi in India, strong capable leaders, and it has been more than two decades since Margaret Thatcher was in charge in Great Britain.

I find it sad that there are many people out there whose hatred runs so deep that they cannot appreciate the importance of this nomination. I imagine most of them are the same people who have never been able to appreciate the giant step forward this country took in electing its first African-American president eight years ago.

Repeating a one-liner

I already said this on Facebook, but since it received a positive reaction, I thought I would try it again. With Hillary Clinton winning the Democratic nomination, does this mean that the general election will pit It Takes a Village against It Takes a Village Idiot?

Back in Joplin

I posted this on Facebook, but failed to mention on the blog that I returned to Joplin for good Sunday after spending six weeks in Newtonia while I recovered from the surgery.


Anonymous said...

It Takes a Village vs. It Takes a Village Idiot ... Thanks, Randy. My only laugh of the day!

As for the rest of your column,I'm right there with you. After many years, I'm also finally developing some patience in regard to things that used to be so irritating. I heard someone talking about this very issue the other day. He said we often get stressed out because we work from a faulty premise to begin with--that things will go right! But even in that, he said, there's good news. When things don't go right, it's irritating because usually they do.

As for your phone calls, I think we all would lead more peaceful lives if automated phone systems/menus had never been invented. When it's thrilling to reach an actual human on the line,that pretty well indicates what we're dealing with! Good luck with AT&T, Freeman, and the insurance company. As for me, I'll be going into Round 3 tomorrow with a credit card company that owes ME money. It's a concept they can't seem to understand!The first challenge, of course, will be getting through the automated phone system. But hey, patience is a virtue!

Angry old white guy! said...

The first time I was eligible to vote was for Reagan in his second term: and I did. I have voted for the winning candidate each time since, except both George W terms. So obviouusly, I feel no allegiance to either party. As an "older" white male, with a southern bent, I often find myself in the company of America's newest "threatened" species... the "traditional" Caucasian patriarch. It seems that every sub group in popular culture is protected from satirical depictions: except the new stereotype of the dullard dad. This good natured ribbing evokes laughter in some, but is taken as highly disrespectful by many who now identify with Archie Bunker and Donald Trump. Neither of these cartoonish caricatures really care about the plight of the embattled white man, yet they offer a ridiculous life raft for the new minority.
When senator Obama ran in 2008 I told people I was not voting for him becauae he was black. Some I knew responded with self righteous indignation, others with 'hell ya!' Then I further explained I'm voting for him because I believe he is the best candidate for the job... his skin color is about as relevant to the equation as his favorite food.
When you listen to Secretary Clinton speak, she acknowledges the historical significance of her candidacy as it relates to gender. However, she is very careful to make the point that she is first and foremost American, and that she wants what is best for everyone. Therfore if Trump wins, when he says "We win," he will mean me, excluding many Americans. Should Hillary Clinton win, "we" will include me along with all Americans. Therefore. I will not vote for Clinton because she is a woman. I will vote for her because she is the best person for the job.

Anonymous said...

This election I have a choice to vote for a corrupt, self-serving pathological liar or a corrupt, self-serving pathological liar. Somehow, for the first time in my life, I probably will not bother to vote. Hail Cesar, the Republic is no more.

Anonymous said...

For Anonymous 6:52 AM--If you really believe both candidates are corrupt, self-serving pathological liars, here's a tip. Vote for the one without an explosive temper, who isn't delusional, and who stays in touch with reality on a regular basis. It's a start.