[personal profile] siderea points out the large hidden costs of all the forms doctors and patients are now required to fill out, and suggests a way of pushing back against those requirements, by making them visible.
I'm putting this here mostly to help myself remember. I just got an email from my credit union:.

a recent change in federal regulations affects the way you make your online and mobile deposits. Now, when you endorse your check (sign the back of the check you are depositing), you're also required to indicate in writing that you're depositing the check online or from a mobile phone (remotely).

This change applies to all financial institutions that accept online and mobile deposits. ...


Proper endorsement format for Mobile Deposit:

John Doe (your signature)
For BECU Mobile Deposit only

Proper endorsement format for Online Deposit:
John Doe (your signature)
For BECU Online Deposit only

What this Means to You
If you don't properly endorse the back of the check you're depositing, the check may be denied. Additionally, if your check is missing the proper endorsement, and it's deposited more than once, your account will be debited for the amount of the check. Further, you'll be liable for any resulting negative balance in your account, including NSF fees, regardless of circumstances surrounding the deposit(s).

I have been writing "For Deposit" above my signature; when I was putting the checks into an ATM, it was "For Deposit Only [newline] signature [newline] account number" but BECU accepts the mobile deposits even if I don't put the account number on the check.

My banking options are, in no particular order, to do things electronically; find a partner credit union that will let me make deposits through their ATM; or move at least some of my money to a credit union or bank that has branches here. It took me long enough to find a credit union that I was eligible for that I jumped at the opportunity when we moved to Washington, where there are far fewer restrictions on membership—BECU was open to any resident of Washington or Alaska, so I joined as soon as I had proof of residency,
[personal profile] cattitude and I went to the Registry of Motor Vehicles office today, and handed them forms, ID from other places, and utility bills, and will be getting Massachusetts ID cards in a few weeks. We have also registered to vote.

I had gone to the RMV website, filled in the information ahead of time, and printed out the number-coded receipt it gave me. This seems to have made absolutely no difference to the process: I got to watch the clerk retype information from that printout into her computer. Cattitude got to watch a different clerk retype handwritten information from his form into the same computer system.

We had lunch at Zuzu, a Middle Eastern restaurant and music club in Central Square, on the way to the RMV office in Watertown (which appeared to have shorter lines than the one in downtown Boston). Cattitude had the pumpkin kibby (which is what he had on his previous visit, and why he wanted to go back), and I had lamb shank, on the theory that a restaurant that has lamb shank on the regular lunch menu probably knows what to do with it. Both were excellent; the pumpkin kibby is one of several vegetarian options. They also know how to make a decent cup of tea—the water was hot enough, and they had a black tea that wasn't Earl Grey.

On our way back from the RMV, we went to Toscanini's for hot fudge sundaes; it appears to be strawberry ice cream season there, so I got a large sundae with strawberry and lemon ice cream, because I felt obscurely that I had earned it, even though this wasn't a particularly difficult encounter with bureaucracy (in terms of time or complexity).
redbird: Me with a cup of tea, standing in front of a refrigerator (drinking tea in jo's kitchen)
( Jun. 1st, 2015 03:25 pm)
As you may remember, I am now supposed to have health insurance coverage via a COBRA plan. That is handled by a middleman, which sends the money on to local woman's spouse's former employer.

It transpires that the only thing the COBRA people do efficiently is cash checks. Our check was, in fact, received and cashed a couple of weeks ago.

When I tried to refill a prescription, the pharmacy said it looked like I wasn't covered. I called the insurance company, which said they showed the same thing, and I needed to talk to the COBRA people.

When I finally got through to someone there, she told me that the notification to the insurer that we had paid was sent today. But she wasn't sure if that meant it will be going later today, or if it had already happened, and there's no way for her to check that. What she did know is that they only send those notifications once a week. Also that it should take "48 to 72 hours" so I will have my coverage back "by Wednesday, Thursday at the latest."

Then she told me that they know this is slow, and "that's why we make the coverage retroactive." I did not actually yell at her in pointing out that no, that's not why—they make it retroactive because federal law requires it.

Then she asked if there was anything else she could do for me. I said "let me get off the phone before I fucking scream at someone," and I tapped "end call." I try not to yell at customer service peons, but whether she was incompetent or trying to be obstructive, it was obvious that she not only couldn't do anything else for me, she hadn't done very well at what I'd already asked for.

tl;dr: We need single-payer health care, but in the meantime, can we at least have minimally competent people answering the phones?
The NYS Department of Labor has a place where people who are collecting unemployment benefits (or other people who have created logins) can leave messages. I have left two messages in the last several weeks, and when I log in for other reasons I check, and so far there have been no answers to either.

This morning they sent me email, to my regular address, to let me know that I had a message on their system, and could log in and read it. I did so, and I still don't know why they didn't just put the actual message in the email, with a note saying "this is an answer to your query of 1/7/13." It's not just that my email is probably as secure as my login on their system (on average, and in this case I think my email password is the stronger of the two). It's that there is no personal information of any sort in my question or their answer, so no risk if someone did intercept it. It doesn't include ID numbers, what benefits I am receiving, or anything like that: in fact, it was clearly written by someone who didn't know how long I have been receiving benefits, and almost certainly doesn't have the other information.

At least they answered my question. I wonder if anyone will ever answer the other one.
I'd gotten tired of schlepping up to Westchester for mammograms, so I have made an appointment with a place on the West Side of Manhattan. Unsurprisingly, they want me to bring my old mammogram films, for comparison. This will require me to schlep to Yonkers one last time (it's three buses in each direction; all covered by my unlimited Metrocard, but still, that takes time, especially if the connections are bad). I need to do this tomorrow. When I called at the end of June, it was "sure, just tell us how far back you need, and give us a couple of days' notice."

So, I called them Tuesday. The person who answered took my name and other identifying information, and said I would need to talk to Terry to finish sorting this out, and transferred me. To someone's voicemail. I left a detailed message on Tuesday, asking her to call me back. Thursday morning, I tried again and got the voicemail again. So, I called back and explained that to the person who answered, who said she would check to see if Terry was in—and then put me through to voice mail again.

This morning, I called, and asked the person who answered what their hours were for this purpose. She told me I needed to call ahead. So, I explained the saga of the multiple messages left. I had lucked out and gotten the token competent person allowed near the telephones, who explained that the reason I hadn't gotten a call back was that Terry had been out all week. In what universe does "I'll check to see if she's there" mean "I will put you through to the voicemail of someone who is out this week"? Fortunately, said Competent Person gave me her name, told me when she will be at the office tomorrow, got my information, and promised to call me back. An hour or so later, I checked my phone and found a message: she has pulled my films and they will be there for me to get tomorrow morning.

I finished the page proofs I was working on about 2:30 this afternoon, and went in to my boss's office to tell her this, and that while I'd checked with the supervising editor for math before I left, she hadn't had anything for me right then. (She will on Monday.) My boss told me I might as well go. This meant I got to work out when there were very few people at the gym.

The usual gym numbers )


As a side note, I would like to know whether the IRT division of the NY subway system talks to the IND. Both the trains that come to my neighborhood are being replaced by shuttle buses this weekend. The information on the 1 explains that the buses will connect to the A at 207th Street. They do not mention that the A is only running as far as 168th Street, so the connection is actually to another bus. (The shuttle bus is often considerably slower than the subway would be, though usually faster than walking.)




*Discordian calendar notwithstanding, I am coming to think that Bureaucracy is a cleverly arranged subset of the season of Confusion.
I'd gotten tired of schlepping up to Westchester for mammograms, so I have made an appointment with a place on the West Side of Manhattan. Unsurprisingly, they want me to bring my old mammogram films, for comparison. This will require me to schlep to Yonkers one last time (it's three buses in each direction; all covered by my unlimited Metrocard, but still, that takes time, especially if the connections are bad). I need to do this tomorrow. When I called at the end of June, it was "sure, just tell us how far back you need, and give us a couple of days' notice."

So, I called them Tuesday. The person who answered took my name and other identifying information, and said I would need to talk to Terry to finish sorting this out, and transferred me. To someone's voicemail. I left a detailed message on Tuesday, asking her to call me back. Thursday morning, I tried again and got the voicemail again. So, I called back and explained that to the person who answered, who said she would check to see if Terry was in—and then put me through to voice mail again.

This morning, I called, and asked the person who answered what their hours were for this purpose. She told me I needed to call ahead. So, I explained the saga of the multiple messages left. I had lucked out and gotten the token competent person allowed near the telephones, who explained that the reason I hadn't gotten a call back was that Terry had been out all week. In what universe does "I'll check to see if she's there" mean "I will put you through to the voicemail of someone who is out this week"? Fortunately, said Competent Person gave me her name, told me when she will be at the office tomorrow, got my information, and promised to call me back. An hour or so later, I checked my phone and found a message: she has pulled my films and they will be there for me to get tomorrow morning.

I finished the page proofs I was working on about 2:30 this afternoon, and went in to my boss's office to tell her this, and that while I'd checked with the supervising editor for math before I left, she hadn't had anything for me right then. (She will on Monday.) My boss told me I might as well go. This meant I got to work out when there were very few people at the gym.

The usual gym numbers )

As a side note, I would like to know whether the IRT division of the NY subway system talks to the IND. Both the trains that come to my neighborhood are being replaced by shuttle buses this weekend. The information on the 1 explains that the buses will connect to the A at 207th Street. They do not mention that the A is only running as far as 168th Street, so the connection is actually to another bus. (The shuttle bus is often considerably slower than the subway would be, though usually faster than walking.)

*Discordian calendar notwithstanding, I am coming to think that Bureaucracy is a cleverly arranged subset of the season of Confusion.
redbird: closeup of me drinking tea, in a friend's kitchen (farthing party 2007)
( Mar. 22nd, 2009 08:25 pm)
I bought some new sneakers recently, having worn out the previous pair. I got two pairs, one black and one white, otherwise identical. I've been breaking in the black ones over the last week, and this afternoon decided to start breaking in the white ones.

I just noticed a tag that fell out of the shoebox. New Balance is proud of—or thinks their customers will be pleased by—manufacturing their shoes in the United States.

The tag says

Committed to American Workers

Solidaire des Travailleurs Américains


The entire text, including that the FTC defines what "made in USA" means, is printed in English and French (no Spanish). I infer that it's easier to print the meet Canadian labeling rules by printing the little bit of advertising in both languages than to take it out of shoeboxes being sent to Canada, where customers aren't likely to be as impressed by "made in United States" in any language.

Oddly, there are two othertags attached to this one, both only in English. One says that they're supporting breast cancer research; the other boasts about the design of this particular model of shoe.
redbird: closeup of me drinking tea, in a friend's kitchen (farthing party 2007)
( Mar. 22nd, 2009 08:25 pm)
I bought some new sneakers recently, having worn out the previous pair. I got two pairs, one black and one white, otherwise identical. I've been breaking in the black ones over the last week, and this afternoon decided to start breaking in the white ones.

I just noticed a tag that fell out of the shoebox. New Balance is proud of—or thinks their customers will be pleased by—manufacturing their shoes in the United States.

The tag says

Committed to American Workers

Solidaire des Travailleurs Américains


The entire text, including that the FTC defines what "made in USA" means, is printed in English and French (no Spanish). I infer that it's easier to meet Canadian labeling rules by printing the little bit of advertising in both languages than to take it out of shoeboxes being sent to Canada, where customers aren't likely to be as impressed by "made in United States" in any language.

Oddly, there are two other tags attached to this one, both only in English. One says that they're supporting breast cancer research; the other boasts about the design of this particular model of shoe.
redbird: closeup of me drinking tea, in a friend's kitchen (Default)
( Aug. 15th, 2008 06:37 pm)
Bad: I got a letter yesterday saying that I owed large sums of money because I'd had my surgery done by an out-of-network doctor.
Good: When I called this morning, as soon as I said "emergency room" the person I was talking to said she would fix it for me, and resubmit it as an in-network claim. (The key point I was making, which she accepted, was that I hadn't had a choice of surgeon.)
Bad: This afternoon, I wanted to see whether a different doctor was in their network, so went to the Web. I got an error message about "too many login attempts". Called the tech support number it gave. It took 15 minutes of going in circles before the tech suggested I clear saved files, I described what I was looking at and said "firefox," and she said that they don't support Firefox. Apparently the way they don't support it is by giving a false error message. ("Please use Internet Explorer" would be useful; "Xyzzy Please restart" would at least not set a false trail.) There are enough Firefox users that the tech should have thought of that the first time we went through her resetting my password and me still not being able to log in, not the third.
Good: The doctor in question is in their network.
redbird: closeup of me drinking tea, in a friend's kitchen (Default)
( Aug. 15th, 2008 06:37 pm)
Bad: I got a letter yesterday saying that I owed large sums of money because I'd had my surgery done by an out-of-network doctor.
Good: When I called this morning, as soon as I said "emergency room" the person I was talking to said she would fix it for me, and resubmit it as an in-network claim. (The key point I was making, which she accepted, was that I hadn't had a choice of surgeon.)
Bad: This afternoon, I wanted to see whether a different doctor was in their network, so went to the Web. I got an error message about "too many login attempts". Called the tech support number it gave. It took 15 minutes of going in circles before the tech suggested I clear saved files, I described what I was looking at and said "firefox," and she said that they don't support Firefox. Apparently the way they don't support it is by giving a false error message. ("Please use Internet Explorer" would be useful; "Xyzzy Please restart" would at least not set a false trail.) There are enough Firefox users that the tech should have thought of that the first time we went through her resetting my password and me still not being able to log in, not the third.
Good: The doctor in question is in their network.
As you know, Bob, an FSA is... )

I'd never had an FSA before, so I had to guess how much to put in it. I figured so many prescriptions, so many doctor visits, and if there was anything left over I could get new glasses if it was a lot, or stock up on ibuprofen if it was a few dollars. I did that calculation in March. I didn't count on the gall bladder surgery, of course.

In May, I made what turned out to be a practical mistake, and used the card they sent me to charge a couple of prescription copays against the account. This was a mistake because I did not immediately grab the receipts and send them in to substantiate the expenses. They've been sending me letters, and I've been looking for receipts. Apparently there's no way to send them back the money if you can't find the receipt, it has to be offset against other expenses you can substantiate.

One of the things that is covered is hospitalization. I got the bill from the hospital yesterday, for that part of their bill that the insurer neither covered nor negotiated a discount on. It comes to a little over $1000. That not only is more than I have left in my FSA for 2008, it's more than the total I told them to deduct for the calendar year. So I am faxing them a copy of the hospital bill (or trying to, their fax machine is often slow to answer on weekends), and figure they will send me a check for about a third of it, and I can stop worrying about drugstore and medical copay receipts for 2008, though I may throw a few more in the appropriate folder just in case.

Sometime in the next few months, I will need to guess how much to have taken out next year; this year is not a useful basis for calculation. (I may be a bit less conservative than I was this year, on the theory that new glasses never did me any harm.)

ETA: I got the reimbursement in today's mail (August 16; I faxed the form to them on the tenth). Computers being like that, it states the amount paid out this year, the amount remaining in my account (zero), and the amount of outstanding claims (about $700). I say "Computers being like that" because the outstanding amount cannot be paid: money added in 2009 won't apply. Actually, there might be a way it would be payable: if I changed jobs before the end of the year, and the new job also had an FSA. This is low-probability. So I have put that paperwork in the "FSA" folder, and the check in my wallet.
As you know, Bob, an FSA is... )

I'd never had an FSA before, so I had to guess how much to put in it. I figured so many prescriptions, so many doctor visits, and if there was anything left over I could get new glasses if it was a lot, or stock up on ibuprofen if it was a few dollars. I did that calculation in March. I didn't count on the gall bladder surgery, of course.

In May, I made what turned out to be a practical mistake, and used the card they sent me to charge a couple of prescription copays against the account. This was a mistake because I did not immediately grab the receipts and send them in to substantiate the expenses. They've been sending me letters, and I've been looking for receipts. Apparently there's no way to send them back the money if you can't find the receipt, it has to be offset against other expenses you can substantiate.

One of the things that is covered is hospitalization. I got the bill from the hospital yesterday, for that part of their bill that the insurer neither covered nor negotiated a discount on. It comes to a little over $1000. That not only is more than I have left in my FSA for 2008, it's more than the total I told them to deduct for the calendar year. So I am faxing them a copy of the hospital bill (or trying to, their fax machine is often slow to answer on weekends), and figure they will send me a check for about a third of it, and I can stop worrying about drugstore and medical copay receipts for 2008, though I may throw a few more in the appropriate folder just in case.

Sometime in the next few months, I will need to guess how much to have taken out next year; this year is not a useful basis for calculation. (I may be a bit less conservative than I was this year, on the theory that new glasses never did me any harm.)

ETA: I got the reimbursement in today's mail (August 16; I faxed the form to them on the tenth). Computers being like that, it states the amount paid out this year, the amount remaining in my account (zero), and the amount of outstanding claims (about $700). I say "Computers being like that" because the outstanding amount cannot be paid: money added in 2009 won't apply. Actually, there might be a way it would be payable: if I changed jobs before the end of the year, and the new job also had an FSA. This is low-probability. So I have put that paperwork in the "FSA" folder, and the check in my wallet.
redbird: closeup of me drinking tea, in a friend's kitchen (Default)
( Jul. 29th, 2008 09:41 am)
I just got off the phone with Cigna. This time I spoke to a woman named Kimberly.

She agreed that the certificate of credible coverage had been received on May 30. Oddly, she said there was no record of my second phone call, after I got their second letter, or of any activity on this particular claim.

The current situation (in addition to her apologizing for the confusion) is that I have a service request number, 1-2108647621. That service request is her attaching the information about the certificate of credible coverage to this claim. I also stated that this was not a preexisting condition and asked her to include that information.

She told me that I will receive correspondence within 15 business days (that's by August 20) about their review and, I sincerely hope, payment of this claim.

Also, there are no other outstanding claims: everything else related to the hospitalization has been paid.

ETA: I have been to the post office, and sent a certified letter explaining the situation, their stupid form on which I also state that I had never been treated for the condition before, and another copy of the certificate of credible coverage. The post office was pleasantly uncrowded: my wait in line was a few seconds longer than I needed to fill out the certified mail and return receipt forms.
redbird: closeup of me drinking tea, in a friend's kitchen (Default)
( Jul. 29th, 2008 09:41 am)
I just got off the phone with Cigna. This time I spoke to a woman named Kimberly.

She agreed that the certificate of credible coverage had been received on May 30. Oddly, she said there was no record of my second phone call, after I got their second letter, or of any activity on this particular claim.

The current situation (in addition to her apologizing for the confusion) is that I have a service request number, 1-2108647621. That service request is her attaching the information about the certificate of credible coverage to this claim. I also stated that this was not a preexisting condition and asked her to include that information.

She told me that I will receive correspondence within 15 business days (that's by August 20) about their review and, I sincerely hope, payment of this claim.

Also, there are no other outstanding claims: everything else related to the hospitalization has been paid.

ETA: I have been to the post office, and sent a certified letter explaining the situation, their stupid form on which I also state that I had never been treated for the condition before, and another copy of the certificate of credible coverage. The post office was pleasantly uncrowded: my wait in line was a few seconds longer than I needed to fill out the certified mail and return receipt forms.
I am well exercised, and came home to an annoying letter from the insurance company. It's to do with one of the bills for the gall bladder surgery. Tomorrow they get one saying that (a) they've already agreed that I sent the certificate of credible coverage*, and this is sufficient; but (b) I had in any case never been treated for gall bladder anything, so it is not a pre-existing condition. Andy has advised me to send it certified mail.

One of the odd things about this is that they have already paid large amounts of money toward the surgery, hospitalization, and such; there's just this one bill they send this letter about, and this one says "third and final." After the second letter, I spoke to someone who agreed that they already had the certificate of credible coverage on file, and said he'd sort it out for me. I really had better ideas of what to do with my lunch hour than go wait in line at the post office.

so, some gym numbers )

*a certificate of credible coverage is proof that you had insurance from some other company immediately before signing up with this one; with it, they generally have to cover pre-existing conditions.
I am well exercised, and came home to an annoying letter from the insurance company. It's to do with one of the bills for the gall bladder surgery. Tomorrow they get one saying that (a) they've already agreed that I sent the certificate of credible coverage*, and this is sufficient; but (b) I had in any case never been treated for gall bladder anything, so it is not a pre-existing condition. Andy has advised me to send it certified mail.

One of the odd things about this is that they have already paid large amounts of money toward the surgery, hospitalization, and such; there's just this one bill they send this letter about, and this one says "third and final." After the second letter, I spoke to someone who agreed that they already had the certificate of credible coverage on file, and said he'd sort it out for me. I really had better ideas of what to do with my lunch hour than go wait in line at the post office.

so, some gym numbers )

*a certificate of credible coverage is proof that you had insurance from some other company immediately before signing up with this one; with it, they generally have to cover pre-existing conditions.
I faxed the "certificate of creditable coverage" that HIP gave me when I cancelled that insurance to Cigna this morning. This was after I got a letter from them a couple of days ago, asking about whether I had previously been treated for "this condition" w.r.t. a pathologist bills from the hospital visit last month. The woman on the phone and I agreed that yes, things cross in the mail and I shouldn't worry about letters in the next few days asking about a prior condition, but such a letter in late June would be something to follow up on. [This mostly as a reference so I'll know when I did this.]
I faxed the "certificate of creditable coverage" that HIP gave me when I cancelled that insurance to Cigna this morning. This was after I got a letter from them a couple of days ago, asking about whether I had previously been treated for "this condition" w.r.t. a pathologist bills from the hospital visit last month. The woman on the phone and I agreed that yes, things cross in the mail and I shouldn't worry about letters in the next few days asking about a prior condition, but such a letter in late June would be something to follow up on. [This mostly as a reference so I'll know when I did this.]
I have signed up with the New York State Organ and Tissue Donor Registry, which can be done online (assuming you have a state driver's license or non-driver ID and identify with one of the two standard genders). I'll sign the back of the state ID as soon as I have two people handy to act as witnesses, rather than ask someone to "witness" a pre-existing signature.

Given that they require the state ID number on the form, I wonder if they take people out of the registry if their licenses or IDs expire without being renewed, or if their driver's licenses are suspended.
.

Profile

redbird: closeup of me drinking tea, in a friend's kitchen (Default)
Redbird

Most-used tags

Syndicate

RSS Atom
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios

Style credit

Expand cut tags

No cut tags