Monday, October 5, 2015

Why is this so hard?

I've been serving as estate agent for my dad, work that began once he went into the hospital last April. With his passing the big task is to work through the packets sent by life insurance and investment companies. Today I was working through the packet from the company that pays his pension and supplemental health insurance. The pension will continue for Mom and the form is straightforward (though the form for federal tax withholding...).

But the health insurance... That can make the head spin. Mom has Medicare, Medicare Part B, Medigap, and prescription drug plans. Some of the Medicare Part B premium is taken out of the pension payment. Another part (I believe) is a direct withdrawal from Dad's bank account. Then the fun begins. There is a first pot of money, held by a separate company, that will reimburse Mom for Part B premium payments. It watches for such payments and will send a check automatically. It also watches for expenses that Medicare and Part B don't pay.

And when the first pot is gone there is a second. This is run by yet another company. But to get at this pot I must send them the receipt for payments I've made. Which means I also have to know this pot of money exists. Which, until now, I didn't.

Would it have been possible to design a healthcare payment system that is more complicated?

All these packets of paperwork could take over my life. I'm trying hard to make sure that doesn't happen, though when I set it aside for the day I've been thinking, … so what am I supposed to be doing?

My latest motto: It ain't over until the paperwork is done.

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