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Bureaucracy A Necessary Evil
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Spent the first part of this morning pursuing the ongoing effort to get the District bureaucracy to reinstate my medical benefits. Expiration date was the last day of December. OK. Turned in form to continue benefits, copy of Medicare card. And the first week of January faxed the Benefits office the award letter from PERS.

Four weeks later, I received notification that my prescriptions couldn't be refilled because my insurance had expired.


Into the fray...calling the Benefits Administration, plinking my way through the telephone tree...giving the secretary my name, rank, and serial number and reason for calling...transferred to another person and giving her the same identical information....

I did this for 4 days in a row, until it must have become quite clear to them that I wasn't going away, certainly not quietly. On the fourth day I asked for the supervisor's name, which got me to the original person, hiding behind the secretary. She assured me she was "processing" it.


Have heard that one before. But who am I to call someone a liar without checking first? She said I could call the pharmacy and get my prescriptions today. Today I called and they said my file was still "inactive".

So back to the Benefits office, starting all over again with name, rank, etc. By now I have it down to 25 words or less, a script. One of the people I spoke to let it slip that the computer updates are done over the weekend, so I wouldn't be able to get prescription refills until Monday.

Now that makes sense. In spite of the protestations of "processed today", I do believe, based my 25-year experience with District computer systems, that the update won't be in the system until Monday.

No problem; I can wait. As a former planner, I planned ahead for this and it's not an emergency. Yet. You don't have to teach this old dog new tricks; some of the old tricks work just fine.


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