It was the phone call from Sandy at my dentist's office that tipped me off. Delaware County, my employer, had recently switched dental insurance carriers. My dentist was in the process of updating the records of all county employees. When Sandy tried to pull me up in the new carrier's system, she had no luck. She left me a voicemail to tell me of the problem.
Her voicemail triggered an email to the insurance specialist in the county's HR office. Had I missed an enrollment notice? Was there a blunder at the insurance carrier's end? If I had goofed, was there any chance of my picking it up now?
About ten minutes later, Cindi in HR called back. When she said she wanted to talk to me over the phone and not put it in an email, I knew what was coming. Sure enough, I had blown through the end of the year emails alerting us to a change in carrier and the need to enroll anew. And, no, there was no opportunity to enroll again until open enrollment next December.
"I sent out several emails on this," she said. "I'm sorry."
I assured Cindi it was not her fault. I remember the emails. I remember not reading far enough into the emails to realize I had to submit a new enrollment. Oh, trust me, I knew where the error was, and it wasn't on Cindi. Or the insurance carrier.
It was on me. What a dunderhead moment that was.
After I hung up, I sent Cindi an email thanking her for her quick response. Her enthusiastic "Thank you!" in immediate response tells me she doesn't get too many employees thanking her for dismal news. I next emailed Warren and broke the news to him. His response was "ugh."
I then called and broke the news to Sandy. "I goofed," I said. "I'll be uninsured this year."
You could hear Sandy wince. She gingerly asked if I intended to keep my appointment for my semi-annual teeth cleaning in March.
Absolutely. I have a long, complicated dental history, courtesy of an incompetent dentist in my youth and exacerbated by eleven years of myeloma. Trust me, I will keep my regular appointments, even though I have to shell out of pocket for them.
Warren assured me when I got home that night that it was not the end of the world. He's right. When I put it into perspective, it is truly a first-world-grateful-I-can-afford-dental-care problem. And in light of what I wrote about just recently, my tendency to fixate on financial issues as a response to a Mayo trip, I have to laugh. I think the Universe was telling me to keep up the extra frugal meals for another ten and a half months.
I can hear the leftovers calling as I type.