Thursday, February 15, 2018

Does Catastrophic Insurance Protect You or Is It a Practice in Catastrophe?

I signed up for the catastrophic medical insurance offered by NYSUT, not expecting a catastrophe, but you never know. I never thought the insurance itself would be catastrophic, but I should've thought things through. After all, I used NYSUT auto insurance for many years, and it wasn't until I bought a car in 2014 that I learned I was paying almost double what Allstate charges.

I asked the company, Mercer Consumer, for payroll deduction so I wouldn't have to send them checks all the time. If I recall correctly, there was some kind of discount associated with that. A few weeks ago, I got a note that I needed to send a payment or my account would be canceled. I figured that was nonsense since I asked for payroll deduction, so I tossed the letter.

The other day, however, I got an email from UFT saying the first payment must be by check. That surprised me since the packet stated no such thing. I'd have written a check immediately if only I still had the bill. The email instructed me to call Mercer, which I did,

I was encouraged to hear, in their recording, they had a devoted line to the NYSUT insurance. Their message said if you signed up for payroll deduction to ignore the bill. I decided to wait on the line to make sure, but the message said it would be 39 minutes to speak to a human. I declined. They probably told me my call was important to them, but I always figure if my calls are important to you, you'll, you know, answer them.

A friend in the office told me they had deducted from his check, and I went and found they had not deducted from mine. This grieved me deeply. I therefore called UFT Welfare Fund. I sat on hold while I waited to speak to an operator. I told the operator I wanted to speak to someone about it, and she put me on hold again. I entered my social security number and got placed on hold yet again.

I spoke to a woman at the Welfare Fund who told me I should call Mercer. I asked her why, then, I had gotten an email from Geof Sorkin, UFT Welfare Fund Executive Director. Naturally, she put me on hold again to check this out. When she came back, she told me that I would have to call Mercer. T

Unfortunately, I have this job and stuff, and my ability to sit 39 minutes and wait for Mercer is sorely limited. Sometimes I have to, you know, teach classes, and for some reason my principal frowns on leaving my speaker phone on so I can complete personal calls during class time. Also, at meetings, people seem to find that disrespectful.

I looked up Mercer online and found an email address:

I described my issue and left my NYSUT ID, which I have on a card in my wallet. If you're having the same problem, give them a holler. An autobot wrote back, saying I'd have a response in two days. Well, it beats staying on hold for 39 minutes.

On the other hand, I have a week off coming up. I suppose I could devote one day to sitting around and waiting for Mercer to respond to my call. Too bad they didn't just deduct it from my check. After all, I sent them a signed authorization.

You know, this is the only non-third-world country I know of where you need catastrophic medical insurance. It's also the only such country I know of where there is such a thing as Fox News and millions who watch it. That's probably how the Koch Brothers and their pals are able to disenfranchise so many voters that we now have Donald Trump as President.

I'll keep working to get the insurance I'm willing to pay for. Hopefully, we'll all keep working to render it obsolete.
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