The good news is that I was finally approved for Medicare Part B.
Readers who have been around for a while may remember that I was eligible to stay on Medicare — even though I no longer receive Social Security Disability payments — since my disability is ongoing. I applied and a mere bureaucratic-time 18 months later I was approved. For Part A.
It turns out that I had failed to fill out the application correctly, checking the box for Part A (hospital insurance) but not Part B (medical insurance). I was still out of sorts from my post-FinCon hospital stint in San Diego, I think.
At any rate, I had to appeal the decision, being told I’d probably hear back within a couple of months. Six and a half months later I got a notice in the mail that my medical insurance is effective as of October 1st. (They wrote this on October 25th because why would the government make sense?)
The point is that I now have Part B coverage. And since it backdated to October 1st, the eye doctor’s billing department is going to put through a claim to Medicare for the $210 topography procedure I had to have done. My marketplace insurance’s deductible hadn’t been met, so I paid the whole thing out of pocket. Medicare’s deductible is $183, but it’s worth checking to see if I can get any part of the payment back.
I also made sure to apply for Part C coverage — a supplemental Medicare insurance program that provides more coverage and prescription drug benefits –before the end of October. Once it’s approved, my coverage will begin this month so my prescription drugs will still be covered and I’ll have a $0 deductible. Which will be handy when my cataract surgery happens. It means I should pay less than $500 instead of more than $1,300.
Which leads me to the bad news: The change in insurance means I had to cancel the cataract surgery. I have to go back through the process of getting prior authorization, which means going back as far as getting my primary care doctor to refer me to the eye center again. Then have the center get the okay for the procedure, then another three weeks of glasses, then topography again, then another week, then finally the surgery.
Of course, the squeamish part of me considers the delay good news But really it’s just a headache plus another one to two months of dreading the procedure. Made worse by the fact that, unlike Mom’s surgery, the center doesn’t use lasers. No, the doctors use a friggin’ scalpel! Ick, blech and ick some more.
My one bit of consolation is that Nadine had the surgery done at the same place and said you really can’t see anything, just shadows. Which means I won’t see a scalpel coming at my eye.
But back to the good news: I’m finally off the marketplace plan! The $610-a-month marketplace plan.
Just in case that amount weren’t painful enough, I’ve also had to pay for my Part A for the past six months. Meaning that I’ve been paying around $825 a month for the last six months. Starting this month, I’ll pay less than $350.
That’s $475 more a month that can go into retirement accounts!
Have you gotten any good/bad news lately?