15 October 2008

a COBRA moment

I said I would report on COBRA processes (extending my health insurance post-retirement for 18 months) and that has to include the ones I mess up.

September was my first month of COBRA. I received the paperwork explaining how to submit the first payment and I did that right away. I digested every word in the packet. There was the dire threat of denial of coverage if I missed a payment. And there was the explanation that if a person receives a retirement payment, then the COBRA premium would be deducted from that payment.

Then, on October 1, I saw the automatic deposit of my retirement check. It was the full amount, which I took to mean that it takes a few weeks for the paperwork to catch up. After all, I didn't even receive my first COBRA information until the 18th of the month.

And then today I had that nagging feeling that I should call the retirement office and ask. After 15 minutes on hold (I was checking), a pleasant young woman checked my records and confirmed that I was unpaid for the current month.

"Your COBRA payment was due on the 1st."

OK, but what about the statement in the paperwork about deduction from my retirement check?

"Oh, yeah, that's not right. Now, if you want to set that up, I can tell you how. Or if you'd like a form to get automatic deduction from your checking account, I can send you that."

Well, I think for now I'll just quickly send in a check.

"Yeah, could you put that in the mail today?"

This young woman was very pleasant and helpful. It was the original paperwork that wasn't. Last month I gave the paperwork a Complexity Rating of 3 out of 10. I was very impressed with it. I now wonder if my Complexity Ratings should be Provisional for 60 days until consequences are evident.
(I still take full responsibility: I wasn't paranoid enough.)

About that dire warning of loss of coverage? I figure the rep on the phone was casual (and pleasant and helpful) because I'm still in the 105-day "election period." My reaction? I promptly wrote two checks (for October and November) and got them in the mail.

© 2008 Mary Bold, PhD, CFLE. The content of this blog or related web sites created by Mary Bold (www.marybold.com, www.boldproductions.com, College Intern Blog) is not under any circumstances to be regarded as professional, legal, financial, or medical advice. Or education advice. Or marital advice. Or even a tip.

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