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Insurance scare


LexieCat

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Not sure if I mentioned it here, but I did get approved in a matter of days for SSDI. I won't see a check until February, but they determined I was disabled from the date of my diagnosis in July (even though I was working until a couple of weeks ago--presumably I won't receive benefits for that time period due to my salary, but it still shortens the time till I can get paid). 

Even though I'll be getting short-term disability from my employer's group plan, my income will be reduced, so I figured I better start reviewing my finances--particularly looking for expenses (e.g., subscriptions I don't need anymore) that I could cut. In the course of going through my bank transactions, I noticed something odd--there were no deductions for my healthcare insurance (which I receive as part of my retirement benefits from my previous career with the County). I have only a small premium to pay each month--my share is only about $128, and I'd been paying them to "PayFlex," which manages the premium payments for our group of retirees. I'd changed the amount when the plan and premium amount changed earlier this year, but somehow they were not getting deducted. When I logged into my PayFlex account, it said my account had been closed due to non-payment of premiums.

I immediately started freaking out--according to PayFlex, my insurance ended right before I was diagnosed. All I could think of was the tens of thousands of dollars that had been paid out for my diagnostic tests and treatments so far. And, of course, I made this lovely discovery over the weekend, when there was nothing I could do to try to straighten it out. 

So I sent an email to the woman who works in the County's HR department, who has helped me with insurance issues before--I told her something is messed up and I don't know how it happened but I need to get this fixed.

This woman is a perfect model of what a government employee SHOULD be--she is ALWAYS responsive and helpful. Within a couple of hours of the County's offices opening yesterday, I got an email back from her saying not to worry--she'd contacted PayFlex and instructed them to re-open my account so I can pay the $600-some in premiums I owed and sign up for their automatic payments (I had been using my bank's--this way if anything goes wrong it's on them and not me). AND in the course of checking on my account, she discovered the State owed me something like $250 for a premium they deducted from my pension account in error, earlier this year. She contacted the State to make sure they refunded that to me.

I was ridiculously relieved. I'm just glad I noticed this before it got more complicated and/or my unpaid premiums got too big. Realistically, the bulk of the premiums is paid by the County, and presumably the insurance company got paid for mine--it's just that the County and/or the State was paying my share in the meantime. 

But something is/was screwy--they have my home address correct, as well as my email, and I never received any notification of nonpayment (though the letters notifying me are on the website). I have no idea what's up with that, but hopefully this solves the problem.

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Phew!!!  So happy this was easily resolved for you.  I have heard nightmare stories about people losing covering during cancer and they had not idea because this missed the monthly debits in their account and did not notice for a bit (like you).   

Insurance is so vital to our care and it's wonderful to know that the folks you worked for where there for you!

Very happy outcome, for sure and happy you've been approved for SSDI.  The waiting period is a challenge, and I wish they'd change that, but it seems to have been this way forever.  Not sure how they expect some people to survive, when they are not long working and some don't have savings to draw from.  When I went on, I was also approved quickly but had that awful waiting period, not to mention my SSDI payment is not nearly what my income once was.  I had been working for a small company at that time, so they did not have any STD or LTD benefits and my insurance is through my husband's employer.  Thank goodness we had Savings, but it's surely not what or how we wanted to spend them.  That money was meant for our future retirement, to give us extra money to travel and to give to our kids and grandchildren.    Hate paying for cancer, that's for sure!

Take care and best wishes with your treatment,

   Lisa

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I'm glad to hear you got this sorted. I can  imagine the anxiety this caused. A couple of years ago, I had something similar, also involving insurance thorugh my prior employer, the COUNTY!  Although it was a group plan, it was direct pay to the HMO. I'd had it debited from my checking account for years. When rates changed at the first of the year, they got my rate wrong, When I called their attention to it, they stopped debiting entirely.  Long story short, the county and the HMO bounced me around, the county saying it was resolved and the HMO saying all issues for group plans had to go through the employer. It took me almost 5 months and at least 20 hours of my time to sort it out.

I wasn't having cancer treatment at that time, but having had treatment for 3 cancers, I was really in fear of losing my insurance. I wish I'd had the woman in your HR department, and I'm glad to hear that you did. 

I hope your treatment goes as well as your insurance issue.

Bridget O

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I hear you! 
Well my heart dropped as I was reading this post!  We shouldn’t be burdened by this administrative crap.  Now I’m very relieved we declined the auto payment option for COBRA, it’s a major hassle to keep track of the “coupon” system since it’s manual.  
 

Now we’re getting ready to sort through TeamCare- yowza- there are SEVEN different vendors. I think we’ll stick with my outrageous COBRA premiums until my Medicare kicks in from disability after waiting two years in March.  
 

Insurance is ridiculous! 

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