when my Dad's Dad died, my grandmother was clueless. She lived until her 90s and was lucid until the last year or two but never learned to even write a check. So my Dad stepped in to figure out their heath insurance and medical bills. My Dad was the Vice President of Hanes Underwear back when Nothing Goes Right When Your Underwear's Tight. He was no dummy. And after spending a couple of weeks trying to make some kind of sense of it all, he gave up.
He found an insurance broker with a sharp office manager and offered her a side deal. If she would, as a personal project, figure out what was what, who owed what to whom, he would see that she had a lifetime supply of pantyhose.
(Hanes Underwear, at the time, did not make fun stuff for women BUT Daddy had good friends at Hanes Hosiery and literally set up a lifetime deal for that woman. She was so thrilled that she wrote him a thank you note every year at Christmas until he died 40 years later!)
My health insurance now is a Medicare Advantage plan. This is a special basic plan for which I pay $0 premiums. Medicare diverts part of my benefit $ to the insurance company in return for their handling certain stuff. I have only a vague understanding of the details. Fortunately, in my county, I have more than several $0 premium plans to chose from. And the clinic, where my doctor works, actually recommends about 5 of them.
They don't even vary much in coverage but they vary quite a bit in hassle, paperwork and customer service. My current plan has a telephone tree that is so convoluted, I'm pretty sure that it is not even connected to an actual extension where you could get any information. I can get a limited amount of information about my account on line but none of the drug info which is what I really need.
And enrollment or when they make a change, or on any random Tuesday, they send me, in the snail mail a forest worth of paper that tells me nearly nothing. A few months ago, I got a booklet that was 1/4" thick (I measured) and a letter saying that the booklet contained information that I needed but no other clues. That's when I discovered how convoluted their telephone tree was. I gave up entirely.
And their re-enrollment information says they will not offer Silver Sneakers (meaning free swimming pool) with my plan although other information says they will. I have the time to devote a couple of hours to calling them to find out but 1. I'm not sure I would trust what they said and 2. I don't have the will.
So I switched plans to one offered by a local company. I applied online. I got no email confirmation. I did do a screen capture of my application #. Their online presence, beyond the application, is marketing only. No login, no member access at all. And I heard nothing. For a couple of weeks. Until today.
I got a one page letter. It has about 20 points of cogent information and gives me my account numbers. It even says 'this letter will serve as your proof of insurance until you get your member card' for both medical and pharmacy. It's simple and direct and explicit.
After two years of being deluged with paper, this feels almost not real. But, the words sound right. It takes effect on November 1 so I guess I'll know soon enough if I've made a big mistake or not. I can fix it in another year.