One October evening last year, I went to our local pharmacy to pick up a prescription for my daughter. I made sure to bring Cara’s insurance card because my employer had switched us to a new health plan.
I wasn’t sorry about the change. Our prior plan had been operated by incompetents–although they might only have been crooks, I couldn’t be sure–who also managed our flexible spending accounts. These accounts, you may recall, collect pre-tax income from your pay and then return it to you to pay for out-of-pocket medical expenses.
With that plan, nothing ever worked as advertised. I would submit a dental bill for reimbursement and the company would review it for three months before sending me a denial notice, stating that my health plan had no dental coverage.
“I know that I have no dental coverage,” I’d tell the representative on the phone. “That’s why I put a big X in the box labeled Flexible Spending Account.”
“You sure did!” she’d say cheerfully. “I don’t know why they did that. You’ll have to submit it again. This time, put my name on it….”
Or I’d submit a claim for a medical expense that was covered, …