Tuesday, January 3, 2017

SOLTuesday: Bureaucracy

I should have all my dealings with bureaucracy on Tuesdays. It will always give me a Slice of Life story to tell.
            One of my husband’s retirement benefits was a flexible spending account that reimbursed him for his Medicare Part D premium. He had never made a claim because he hated filling out forms, but in 2015, he decided, with my help, to find out the procedure. Then he went into the hospital. Then he died. A couple of months after that, he got a letter reminding him that he had until the end of May to make a claim for 2015. Okay, I thought, I’ll do it.
            I called the phone number on the letter, got sent a claim form, called to make sure I was filling it out correctly and also to make clear to the woman I was speaking to that this claim was for my dead husband, so please don’t make out the check to him.
            Of course, a few weeks later comes a check made out to Jack Robbins.
            Again, I called, and at this point I learned that Jack’s flexible spending account was administered by “a third party,” not the benefits office of the company where he had actually worked. And while I had notified that company (let’s call it Company A) that he had died, that information had never been sent on to the “third party” (let’s call it Company B). I was then put on hold while a benefits person at Company A got in touch with a benefits person at Company B, and, I thought, conveyed the proper  information to Company B.
            I then went back to Company B, where I was told that not only would they send me a check for that premium reimbursement as soon as the computers had all the right information, but that I was also entitled to that same survivor’s benefit. How would I get that, I asked? We’ll send you the information to set that up, I was told.
            This was all six months ago. I waited for the information to come; it never did. Life intervened, and this all went to the back of my mind. But the new year reminded me that this was a very loose string. So I called Company B today.
            The woman I spoke with was very helpful, and even offered to direct deposit the reimbursement so I wouldn’t have to wait for a check. But in looking up how to set up an account for me, she saw that the computer still showed an active account for Jack. Could it be that Company A’s computer had never properly sent the information that Jack is dead to Company B’s computer? Jenna, Company B’s representative, said she would look into it and call me back within two days. Maybe I will have a Slice of Life Thursday. 
It’s Slice of Life Tuesday over at Two Writing Teachers. Check out this encouraging and enthusiastic writing community and their slices of life every Tuesday. And add one of your own. 

Yet another writing challenge. There are no rules for this one about what constitutes an essay, so in case I don't get another more traditional-looking essay written this week, this will do.


  1. Yikes! These kinds of things drive me crazy!!!! Good for you for persevering!

  2. so frustrating! I just hate dealing with these things because it is always so dang difficult. Best to you!

  3. Gaah! So frustrating! As if you don't have enough to deal with! I hope it's resolved soon.