I’m sure that many of you have had great experiences with Social Security. We have not. It’s so ridiculous what we have to put up with and have no recourse. Vince isn’t going to start drawing social security for a couple of years and it’s probably three years before I start but . . Medicare . . therein lies a big problem.
As required (or semi-required), he filed for Medicare when he turned 65. Some of you on Medicare may already know this but it was kind of a surprise to us. The premiums are based on your income tax return from two years prior so, for us, it was 2016. That was a year that, for various reasons, we made way more than most any other recent years. With the IRMAA adjustment, Vince is paying about 2.5 times what he should be paying. He went in to the local Social Security Office on June 4, took in a letter from HR that he had retired, effective June 1, and no longer had income from his former employer. I don’t remember what all paperwork he had but he had done his research and had what he needed. He took it on on June 4, waited forever (first of the month crowd), talked to a rep there. Luckily, Vince had them stamp his copy for the date they received, and had the guy sign it. He said it would be resolved within a couple of weeks and Vince would get a letter.
Vince waited til almost the end of June, called the 800 Social Security number, which always has at least a one hour wait but you can leave a message and they will call you back in a given amount of time, and they always have. When he finally talked to someone there, they had no record of Vince ever having gone in and taken the paperwork.
On July 9, after waiting through the July 4 holidays, he went back to the local office and they told him “apparently the paperwork has been lost”. OK . . that can happen. Not happy about it but understandable. He asked to speak to the manager. After checking with her, the guy told Vince she had obligations but she would call him later. She did. She told him she would look into it, if there was any additional information needed in order to process the claim, she would get back with him. He never heard from her again. He waited. Towards the end of July, he got his premium notice and it was still the same amount. He called the 800 number again, talked to them. They said give it some more time but they still had no record him turning in the reduced income documents. So, he waited.
Yesterday he got the bill for the end of August, which is September’s payment. Still the same amount. He called the 800 number. Believe it or not, still no record he had ever turned the paperwork in. He was not happy but he was nice and calm and pretty much gave them his thoughts on the inadequacies of this whole incident. Then, he wrote our representative and senator and told them all the details and asked for their help. Doubtful . . I know.
This morning, he went back to the local office and, apparently, they were not surprised to see him. The guy he talked to was most apologetic. Took all the paperwork, assured Vince it would be handled appropriately. The guy took the papers and went to talk to the manager, who you would think after three trips to solve one issue, she would have personally spoken to Vince but, no . . didn’t happen. Anyway, the guy came back and told Vince they had already gotten a phone call before Vince got there and it would be dealt with.
Before Vince even got home (of course, he did have to go by Hobby Lobby), he got a phone call saying it had been resolved. Premium had been reduced. Extra amount paid would be refunded.
I know there have been horrendous problems with the V.A. I cannot imagine that government agencies in this country can be so inept and years and years of this, through administration after administration, both parties . . and it only gets worse. It seems that there’s no accountability, no one seems to have any responsibility, no one is held accountable, when you do get to talk to someone . . they don’t care. As citizens, most of us having paid social security for 40 or more years; or in the case of the V.A., these people have served our country . . and we have absolutely no recourse.
It is beyond frustrating. For us, it’s just trying to get the premiums reduced – at least for now. I cannot imagine how horrible it must be for those trying to get medical services and either getting no service or substandard services. It’s ridiculous.
I’ll be most anxious to hear what Rep. Conaway and Sen. Cruz have to say in response to Vince’s letters. Who wants to bet . . nothing, or possibly some form response that the send to every constituent complaint?