Imperative to Track Life Insurance
Earlier, I wrote about the perils of attempting to speak with an actual human on the telephone as I made every effort to check the status of my life insurance policy.
My main oncologist had just removed me from the SSD 9-Month Trial Work Period (TWP), and for months I tried to raise a live human on the phone. The TWP had ended at the beginning of September 2020, and at the time of the last article concerning this was nearing the end of November 2020.
Delays reaching someone by phone
Continuing to place phone call after phone call, I finally was able to speak to a live person in the middle of December 2020. Of course due to the Christmas holiday, I was directed to call back after the New Year. In the meantime, I was told to email their office (PEIA) any paperwork I possessed that dealt with my having to go back on disability retirement.
They were keen to see any papers I might have received from the West Virginia Consolidated Teacher Retirement Board. So as instructed, I immediately sent them those papers via email.
Following a wonderful Christmas and a happy New Year, I dialed the offices of the insurance section of PEIA once more. As usual with any business phone calls, we played pass the buck for a number of phone calls. "You know, let me have you speak with my supervisor." Well in the end, I spoke with the supervisor’s supervisor.
From $0 to $452
While waiting on the supervisor’s supervisor to return my phone call, I once more returned to the PEIA website to check the status of my life insurance payments. I received the shock of my life when I pulled up my account, and it stated that I now owed $452.20. As you may recall, from September 6, 2020, through January 1, 2021, it indicated that I had a due amount of $0.00.
Needless to say, I could not wait for the supervisor’s supervisor to return my phone call. It was the following day before I received the call. I cut right to the chase, saying, “How in the world do I owe you $452.20 since your website has stated $0.00 for four months?”
Of course it was not through any fault of their own. At first they tried their best to lay the blame at my feet. However, we quickly moved past that when I noted I had documented all attempted phone calls and emails on my part. Well, it more than likely was the school system’s fault that this all occurred.
Once again, I informed them I had documented all my contacts with the school board either via phone calls, letters, or emails, and they moved on to placing the blame on the consolidated retirement board. Surely the folks at the retirement board had caused all this by taking too much time to inform them of my disability retirement.
I quickly retorted, “I sent your office via email on December 17, 2020, the official letter of my disability retirement I received earlier from the consolidated retirement board.”
“Oh, I see that now,” she replied. “Well sir, I am not sure how this has occurred, but you will have to make the $452.20 payment in full for your life insurance to continue.”
At this point I was steaming angry: “Is there any way you all can help me out? Maybe spread out the payment or reduce some of it due to all that has happened in four months?”
“I am sorry sir, there is no option like that available on our end,” she sort of whispered.
To make a four-month-long story short, I ended up having to take the $452.20 from the government $600.00 stimulus check and pay the full amount. Four months of grueling torture to even speak to anyone at their offices, and this was their solution for failing to discover the root cause of all this trouble.
Taking away a lesson
The lesson I took away from this whole ordeal was that the company knew they had me over a barrel due to the fact I had terminal advanced prostate cancer with extensive bone metastasis stage 4, and I could not refuse to make the payment for fear of losing my life insurance.
Oh, and one other note, the supervisor’s supervisor actually stated that even though the computer system stated I owed $0.00, I should have made some type of payment each month.
I was left to ponder, just how in the world was I to know exactly how much those payments were supposed to be and if the system would accept a payment when it clearly showed $0.00 due? Take this cancer warrior’s word, it is imperative to track your life insurance.
Have you made personal connections through your journey with prostate cancer?