Jun. 3, 2015

let's call medicare!

Recently I decided to close one account in my local bank, and use another one in the same bank for all my transactions. I rarely use an automatic bill paying option, but sevearl years ago opted to do just that for my medicare payments. Although it took them quite some time to process the "paperwork" (something the private sector does in days, not months), in the end I felt it would save time and ever increasing postage costs. Unfortunately, the payment was set up using the account I was closing. Since the new account was in the same bank, I was hoping the bank could process the change but was told I had to contact 'Medicare'. I retrieved some of my old part 'B' statements, looked up the instructions on the back under 'special messages' and initiated the process indicated which informed me I must call the 800 number. I dialed the number and then proceeded through the automated messages ( 5 minutes worth) only to be put on hold for the next 10 minutes. Finally, a real person answers the phone and again I provide another couple of minutes of information in order for her to say "How can I help you ? ". I explain the situation, wanting to change the account number from which my part 'B' payment is made, and included that this was within the same bank. "Yes, I can do that for you....can you hold please ? ". Another several minutes goes by. " You will need to go to the Medicare.gov website for the forms or we can send them to you."  "Hmmm...since I needed to go to the website, why wasn't that option listed on the very succinct instructions telling me I had to call the 800 number ? ", I queried. No reply other than, " I'm sorry for any inconvenience. Would you like me to mail you those forms ? ".  At this point I said sure and asked how long it would take. Her reply was three weeks ! In the end, I will of course download the material to mail in. To me, this is a prime example of government waste and inefficiency. Thirty minutes of my time and that of a paid government employee in order to send, at your tax dollars expense, a form the will be generated by the government and delivered by a government salaried employee (they don't have to "order" it to then mail it out)...in 3 weeks !! Amazon or any other company would be out of business in short order with that kind of service !