Glitches, resolutions and more health insurance research...

We knew there would be glitches.  We've planned for them.  We've built emergency funds into our budget.  And here we are, not even out the door and a glitch occurs. Oh.

As we approached the 90 day sail date of our first cruise on the Celebrity Century on January 3, 2013 , our final payment was due.  This first cruise was more expensive than a number of our other cruises but Tom wanted to see the Panama Canal during its state of construction and this was a perfect time.

We justified the expense with it providing us with not only 15 days of cruising to the Panama Canal, but a final destination of Fort Lauderdale leaving us in place to board yet another ship for our cruise to Belize.  Perfect!

My calendar marked for this upcoming balance due of $4645.48 after having paid a $900 deposit some months ago, I was prepared to pay in full this past Wednesday.  

In an effort to keep as much as possible of our credit cards free of any large balances, I paid using an American Express card (getting points) and our debit card (no points).  Alas, an error was made by Celebrity's processing department and my debit card was charged an additional $2400 over and above the amount I had authorized.  

As a result, we had paid $7945.48 for a $5545.48 cruise. I don't know about you, but unless a situation such as this is remedied in a matter of minutes, I can get a little testy, not so much rude as stern and extraordinarily persistent. Yes, very persistent.  

I kept reminding myself, after an hour of the phone whereby the cruise line could not detect that they overcharged us, to stay calm. Our bank account said otherwise.  We had expected these situations to occur.  Its all part of the process.

With no resolution, I called our bank, filed a claim after producing evidence of all the payments to prove we had overpaid.  Jean, a very helpful banker was clearly willing to assist without hesitation.  

She not only filed the claim upon email receipt of my documentation, (proving cost of the cruise and all payments including that which was made to American Express), she put the $2400 (the bank's money!) into our account  cover the difference. I had some bill pay payments in process and had not prepared my checking account for this unexpected amount.  Sure, I could have transferred funds to cover this but when they offered, I jumped all over it.

After more email communication with Celebrity the refund appeared this morning, much to my relief.  Immediately I sent the bank an email requesting that they drop the claim and take back their temporary $2400. Whew!  

I knew it would eventually be resolved.  However, I didn't want to spend valuable mental time these next crucial days (we move out in 20 days for the estate sale) thinking about this a possible 10 day period, the usual time to dispute a claim.  Thank you, Jean.  Thank you, bank.  Giving her this blog address, I hope she reads this post and knows how grateful we are.  

I always try to insulate Tom from these situations.  He works. I'm retired and besides, I must admit, I kind of enjoy the satisfaction of getting issues resolved as quickly and efficiently as possible.  No voice-raising, no name calling, no threatening and thus diplomacy prevails when backed by solid evidence. Love it!

In the past several days a bit of angst was "wafting" (love that word) around my brain that maybe, just maybe, we could get a better price on a worldwide health insurance policy for me when Medicare kicks in on my birthday next February. The thought of paying $432 plus $107 for Medicare makes me cringe, especially when Medicare doesn't cover me outside the US. 

After contacting no less than a dozen companies over the past week I stumbled across what proved to be an delightful experience; email and phone communication with Gerry Mould of April Medibroker Ltd in the UK.  

Gerry Mould took the time to prepare a substantial list of options for me (Tom is five years younger than I and will have a retiree policy through his company until he goes on Medicare in 2017) and also spent considerable time on the phone with me from the UK, answering many questions regarding our somewhat unique situation.  

Had we been able to acquire an address outside the US (their company is not licensed in the US), we would have been able to apply for a policy saving us over $2000 a year for coverage equal to or better than that which we have been planning with the State Farm supplement that also provides international coverage.  

Unfortunately, we won't be able to work with Gerry Mould at this time.  Who knows? Maybe someday we'll be considered official "expats" and actually have that foreign address.  In the interim, I've left a message for our State Farm agent to review my health insurance quote when he returns from a convention next week.  Perhaps, we can find a less costly option. I'll report back.

Now, I am off to see if i can complete the transaction on the sale of my car!  In either case, I will report back.  With possibly no mode of transportation during the day, I'll spend my time getting back to the issues at hand...completing our packing. 

I can't wait to be on the road on our way to Scottsdale after all the tearful goodbyes, the finalization of the sale on the house, the move to a friend's house for a week during the sale, the planning of Tom's retirement party with his co-workers and family, the completion of the packing of Tom's bags, working on the redesign of this blog with the web designers, filling the year's worth of prescriptions, attending the neighborhood party our friend Sue is having for us next weekend and all the tearful goodbyes.  Ah, yes, all the tearful goodbyes.

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