Thursday, January 29, 2015

System Failures

This could have been labeled Promises Unfulfilled.  The story is the same.  The aggravation quotient doesn't change.  We're still gritting our teeth and worrying.

TBG became eligible for Medicare on January 2 this year.  He completed his piece of the application process in early December.  It was lengthy.  It was on-line.  My help was required.  I was glad to oblige.  We filled in little boxes, we typed in information, we agreed and concurred and allowed and informed and then we clicked Submit. 

The pop-up box told us that we were done.  We should expect an answer within 3-5 days.

It's been 3-5 weeks and we have heard nothing.  There have been no emails, even in the spam folder.  There have been no phone calls, even before our area became embroiled in a northwest side outage which will be repaired by 7pm this evening, according to the lovely young woman at Comcast.

This means that my husband is uninsured.  This is not a great place to be.

He has a special case number, and heard from a Social Security Administration employee that his case is being processed in the Wilkes Barre office.  No one answered the phone there yesterday; we decided that they were on a snow vacation.  This morning, though, there was still no human interaction.  TBG managed to work his way through a 20 minute voice mail hell and left a message.  He was to be called back within the hour.

Remember that Comcast outage?  It started in the middle of that hour.  Who knows if his call was returned.

Following my suggestion, he called our newly-elected Congresswoman, Martha McSally.  The receptionist informed him that a Release of Information form was required before the Congresswoman and her staff could access his information.  Since my computer no longer talks to my printer (something I should look into at some point), printing and faxing (faxing??? is this 1985?) required a trip to the library and then FedEx. 

I went, I downloaded, I filled in, I printed, I drove, I faxed, I brought the receipt home.  He called the office and was told by a staffer that she was, in fact, the person to whom his query would be directed.  However, they were still setting up the office.  They didn't have a fax machine of their own.  My fax went to Washington (I knew that, since the area code was 202) and would probably be in her hands tomorrow, included in the pouch they receive from DC every morning.  Until she has it in her hands, she cannot help.

There was no offer to call tomorrow and confirm the receipt (or non-receipt) of my fax.  There was no promise of assistance.  There was chatter about the lack of office supplies and then a cheery goodbye.

And so, uninsured, unable to receive phone calls, left hanging by our Representative, we sit and watch the clouds scud across the sky.  As TBG grumbled, Our government is not impressing me right now.


  1. This is all very curious, and very vexing. Terry became eligible for Medicare last year and it all seemed to process smoothly. However, it may have been because he was already drawing social security. I have a retired teacher friend, ineligible for social security, who has also had some difficulty getting signed into medicare, which is required by our school district to supplement that insurance when we turn 65.

    Fortunately, for Terry, he has my school coverage, medicare, and military health insurance. Getting all those agencies to work with one another to pay the medical bills? A bit confusing.

  2. What the heck?! You fax to Washington for them to send in a pouch to another location? Haven't these people heard of Email or eFax? This is a prime example of government waste and bureaucracy.I just don't understand how our government works. This is totally unnecessary. I hope TBG is covered retroactively.

    Hopefully, McSally will be able to do something.

    Hang in there.

    Megan xxx

  3. This is really odd. When my husband signed up for Medicare he did it over the phone. Since we domicile in South Dakota, that's where we called. I wonder if the difficulty is state specific, which you would not expect since it's a federal program. I hope this works out and the card comes in the mail.


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