Skip to main content

My Medicare A Snipe Hunt

I turned sixty-five recently, Medicare age. Much to my husband’s chagrin, I often confused Medicare with Medicaid, so being a retired teacher, I started my quest in July by informing myself about my options.
I learned that I had a seven month window to enlist in Medicare without acquiring a penalty; I learned there were several parts to Medicare – the most important being A, B, C, and D; I learned I could do it easily online without having to go to the nearest Social Security Office. If I started in October or November, I could get this over and done with by the start of my “birthday month” – January.
This is the story of my snipe hunt:
First week in November – The Texas Teacher Retirement System (TRS) called and demanded my Medicare number ASAP! (So much for my seven-month window!)  My current health insurance with them had enrolled me in a new prescription program but they needed my number by early December!!!!  I also received a packet from TRS. If I wanted to stay with my TRS insurer, I had to enroll in Medicare A and B ASAP. It prompted me to act.
The Social Security Administration (SS) website red flagged me when I tried to enroll online, so I went to the local office. After a two and a half hour wait, I saw a SS representative who sent me home to find “important documents” and scheduled my next appointment for December 30th.
TRS called again insisting on a Medicare number.  It prompted me to go back to the SS office before my December appointment.
Mid-November – A different SS representative refused my “important documents.”  They were useless and I did not have sufficient “quarters,” but if I insisted on Medicare A, I would have to pay an exorbitant premium.  I went home without enrolling.
I called TRS. Three different representatives insisted that as a retired Texas teacher, I only needed to enroll in and pay for Medicare B. The rest would be covered by my TRS Medicare insurance.
My third SS representative argued that I could not sign up for Part B only; a fourth representative intervened and did as I requested.  
I called, faxed, and mailed my Medicare number to TRS. I thought I was through enrolling and with time to spare.  
December – I received ID cards for Medicare Plan B and TRS Plan D.
Early January – I called TRS about my missing insurance card (the one that replaced Medicare Plan A and C) and learned that I was not insured.  I argued with the representative but she insisted I go back to the SS office and purchase Medicare A.
The SS office closed at noon that day, so I returned home, tried to sign up online, and got through.  It prompted me to wait 5 business days for an answer.
Ten days later - A SS representative called.  She promised to send me a form ASAP which she suggested I fill, sign, and take to the local office in person.
Ten days after that -I got the SS form.  I returned to the SS office the next day, and after a two-hour wait, I see a representative who informed me that as a retired Texas teacher I did not need Medicare A. I never did, but since I insisted he referred me to their Medicare expert. She told me the same thing, but before I left the building, I called TRS one more time.  
The TRS representative stated I never needed Medicare A.  I made her repeat it twice.
I thanked the SS representative, retrieved my two-inch thick file folder, and left.

My snipe hunt for Medicare A wasted three full months of my life - on the phone, in waiting areas, and talking to fifteen different customer representatives. 


Popular posts from this blog

Happy Breastday to Me!

I gave myself a very special birthday present this year – I had surgery. Before you think it was to increase, decrease, or “lift” something, let me tell you it was not cosmetic (though I could probably use a few nips and tucks at my age; the infinite number of creams I buy OTC are not working their promised magic). About four or five months ago, I discovered a hard lump about the size of a large marble in my left armpit.  I had been feeling small pangs of pain in my left chest for several months, but I figured it was just my turn to dance with heart disease.  Everyone in my immediate family is diabetic and suffers from strokes or heart attacks, so I thought – here we go; my turn. I was going to tell my internist about the pangs during my next visit, so imagine my surprise when I discovered the lump. The Drama Queen in me immediately manifested herself – cancer, I thought.  I have cancer. I searched some more and found that the texture on the left side of my left breast felt diffe

Dating Challenged

I stink at dating – always have.   I sputter.   I hyperventilate.   I fail miserably every time. I blame a pathetically underdeveloped gene that got little use before I married in my early twenties, then atrophied, gathering dust and rust, until I became single again in my fifties.   I decided to use this defect to my advantage when I needed to do some investigative reporting a few years back.   While on a newspaper writing assignment on Boomer-aged dating, I sacrificed my dignity and my vanity for the sake of the story (and I got several). Thank goodness, HoneyBunch saved me from all this when we married.  (He comes up with the best dates.) I’ve decided I will “show you mine if you show me yours.”   I will swap dating horror stories with you, but you have to promise to play along. The trick here is to tell about your worst date in 25 words or less.   You must keep it clean and you cannot name names. Our little contest will run only this week and before my next blogger posting.   Me

The Girl Who Eats Canned Spinach

I went to a Catholic elementary school run by strict Belgian nuns, and we could not leave the cafeteria until we ate everything served on our food tray. Once a week, they served warmed, canned spinach with our meal. The spinach tasted nothing like the way my grandmother made it, but I ate it. I gulped it down in three or four bites and it amazed my table mates. I told them we ate it at home so I was used to the taste. Now, my real problem began the day I ate the spinach off my friends’ trays so we could go play outside. As soon as the nun monitoring the cafeteria turned her back, my friends ate something off my tray I didn’t want, and I ate their serving of spinach. I only did it for two of my table mates, but the word spread.   On the next Spinach Day, kids followed me to my table.   I was suddenly very popular, and as soon as the nun marched off to the other end of the cafeteria, my friends and an army of others who only knew me as The Girl Who Eats Spinach, begged me to take