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Thursday, January 30, 2014

My Mother's Way

I had my wife call the mater this morning.

I could not take any more chatting her up. I had called Michigan Blue Cross/Blue Shield and gotten straight on her billing: it was not that her payments were messed up, but it was the matter of her getting the concept "due date" and the concept "when I write out the check" mixed up.

For on the passing of my father, we had to establish her in her own account, which was done sometime before June 2013. Her new account had the same due date early in the month, which requires one write out the check towards the end of the month to get it to Blue Cross by the early due date.

By December, 2013, Michigan BC/BS wanted to get everyone on a different schedule with a new due date moved from the beginning of the month to the end of the month.
My mother thus received an invoice with a due date of 12/09 for coverage from 12/15/2013 through 01/15/2014, say, according to the old way. Then under the new way BC/BC wanted to establish, she got an invoice with a due date for 12/25/2013 (instead of 01/09/2014 as it would have been under the old invoice plan) for the coverage period 01/16/2014 through 02/15/2014.

She did not glance at the coverage periods involved, only at the fact that she got two invoices with due dates in December. She was being double  billed!

So we called BC/BS and got the due date switched back to early in the month, around the 9th.

What mixed her up was the corrected invoice BC/BS had to issue to get the due date back from the 25th to the 9th of the month. When this correction came through, she saw it as a double billing again.
And this time she was certain of it, because it said that the due date was the 9th (as I was certain we had asked for back before Christmas), and she had always paid Blue Cross at the end of the month... forever!
And here it is again the beginning of the month!

She had gotten mixed up: under her old system of invoices,  one prepares the check at the end of the month to get it to Blue Cross by the 9th at the beginning of the month next. In a loose sense, one pays at the end of the month (even though the money's due at the beginning of the following month).
So I was mightily mixed up, too.
But Blue Cross had done what we asked: the due date was early in the month, meaning that you mail your payment in at the end of the month before (if you are very cautious about it).

Finally, it was settled... for a while. I don't even know if this is clear to anyone else.
You are lucky if is not!

However, this morning I could not talk to her anymore.
I had come home Tuesday. She had called Wednesday to see how I had made out with Blue Cross, and I had not gotten a chance to talk to them yet. I had spent about 150 minutes Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday waiting to speak to someone; there were many questions relating to the new health care coverage as it turns out, and the volume of calls was unusually high.

During her Wednesday call, she told me how she remember that her nephew's first wife had died alone in her condo, and finally her daughter, step-daughter, or niece had decided that after a week of no phone calls, she had best investigate.
She discovered her dear mother, sainted step-mother, or doting aunt dead for a week.
I told her I was glad she was thinking happy thoughts.
She said that she wanted to save her children from the shock of such an event. (She had spoken to the girl who had been involved, and had been told how ghastly it all was.)

So she was going to call me every day from now on, so that I would know she was yet alive and would not have to worry that she was not.

I reminded her she had just two weeks ago left the phone off the hook for 36 hours just 2 hours after I had taken her to the heart doctor to get her pacemaker set. (She had been feeling very tired. She was going to wait until her March appointment, but she let it slip to my wife that she was short of breath at times.)
I attempted to call her the next day, Saturday, and mention that since she felt better, she best not overdo it and tire herself out.  Busy signal!  Busy signal for the next 6 hours.
Sunday my niece called with her news about the busy signal.
And so on.
(This had happened before, but not so perfectly scripted to occur 2 hours after the heart doctor visit.
Since it was 60 miles to drive there and since this has occurred before, I did not drop all and fly to her aid.
I knew my niece was probably going there Sunday.)

My mother rightly pointed out that a busy signal is better than no answer.
This would be perfectly true as long as one
(1) did not pick up the phone to call 911, and collapse on the floor before dialing, or
(2) one could count on sitting right next to the phone, since their hearing is so bad that they can not hear the phone ring otherwise.

It is not a perfect world... not by a long chalk.


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