This morning was an amazingly positive experience. After talking with a cousin that assists with insurance challenges, I attacked the four medical bills for my husband’s fatal heart attack – LabCorp, cardiologist, ambulance, hospital – about $5000 outstanding. After making it through all the telephone trees, I was able to talk to a person on the first call with all of them except the hospital. There, I had to wait for a return call, then navigate another phone tree to finally talk to a person. Altogether, it took about an hour for the process with the four bills. Thankfully, my husband’s insurance seems to be paying everything in two tiers. He was a state employee, and Blue Cross was the primary payer. AND, because he was over 65, Medicare was the secondary payer. Prior to this morning, none of the billing entities knew about the Medicare. Between the two insurers, what I heard today was that there will be no outstanding balance once Medicare makes their payments. Unfortunately, when my husband died, we also lost our health insurance. The only way that my 23-year-old daughter and I were able to get reasonably priced coverage was through the Affordable Care Act. My husband was with the same employer for 32 years, while I changed every two or three years to work in nonprofits with infrastructure challenges. Through the Act we have gotten excellent, reasonably priced coverage . The one negative outcome is dental insurance. We have the best dentist in the country and I am not willing to give that practice up to use one available through the Affordable Care Act. I have decided to stay with our great dentist (for 20 years) and gamble that there will be no major catastrophic event. This process has shown itself to be a continuation of the uncanny coincidences and positive experiences that have happened since I became widowed.
Insurance money has finally arrived! Now I am able to start methodically paying bills and repaying a family loan that helped me through the thirty days while I waited for cash to arrive. Also started is the search for an excellent fee-only financial planner who can help me with a workable and meaningful personal plan.
One of the first challenges that I faced was finding new health care. My husband had been a state employee for many years, and my college-attending daughter and I had always had coverage under the state employees health plan. The first meeting with the Human Resources Department informed me that we would be covered through the end of April, and could COBRA the state health care for a year at over $1000 a month. Obviously, that was not a viable option. Thank goodness, this happened the day before the Affordable Care Act deadline. Luckily, a friend was one of the advisers helping people with ACA implementation, and enrolled us under the deadline. Yesterday, we received our new Blue Cross cards in the mail (with 6 days to spare).