How much do we pay for health insurance?… Technology issues… Patience prevails…

Elephant topiary on the church’s grounds.

“Sightings from the Veranda in Costa Rica”

We can’t take our eyes off these adorable tiny birds.
Early this morning, we were sighting of a hummingbird partaking of our sugar water.

Regardless of how far away we may travel from the US, there’s no escaping the responsibility of paperwork required for life in general and more related to our lifestyle of world travel.

With Tom’s 65th birthday fast approaching on December 23rd, it was time for him to waive Part B Medicare, which would result in an automatic deduction from Railroad Retirement for his monthly pension income if he didn’t handle it on time.

Pretty ceiling and chandeliers in the church.

Medicare doesn’t pay for medical care outside of the US (with a few exceptions, here and there) long ago; we purchased  “major medical” international insurance coverage through Healthcare International in the UK.

No more expensive annually than paying the required amount for Part B Medicare and a supplement, our plan doesn’t cover doctor visits. So in the past almost five years, we’ve spent very little for the few doctor office visits we’ve made, the most for physical exams and tests we had over two years ago in Trinity Beach, Australia.

Shrine on the grounds of Iglesia Catolica de Zarcero church in Zarcero Costa Rica.

In total, over this extended period, including the comprehensive exams in Australia for both of us, we haven’t spent more than US $2000 (CRC 1,150,510), averaging at US $400 (CRC 230,102) per year.

Our annual insurance payment to Healthcare International is US $4,000 (CRC 2,301,020) plus the average US $400 (CRC 230,102) for doctor visits, totals US $4400 (CRC 2,531,122) per year.

Faces in the shrubs.  Amazing.

The required payments for Medicare Part B plus a supplement plan, plus all the necessary co-pays, would ultimately be much higher than what we’re paying annually. But, of course, we hardly ever go to a doctor, reserving those for situations where we feel we have no alternative. Thus, it’s difficult to compare “apples to apples.”

As a result, Tom won’t be signing up for Medicare Part B, which required he contact Railroad Retirement (as opposed to Social Security) since he worked for the railroad for over 42 years.  Instead, Railroad retirement (and Medicare) require that the potential recipient complete a form requesting to waive Part B.  I’d done this almost five years ago when I was approaching 65.

More faces.

A few weeks ago, Tom called Railroad Retirement and requested the necessary documentation to sign to waive this option. Unfortunately, it took several weeks to arrive at our mailing service in Nevada, Maillink Plus.

When we receive snail mail at the mailing service, we’re sent an email message that snail mail has arrived. So we log into our account at their site and see who sent the mail but not its specific contents. At that point, we can request the mail be scanned at US $2 (CRC 1151) per page.

This spot may be used for weddings and other celebratory occasions.

Of course, receiving mail from governmental agencies may result in the necessity of having many pages scanned to get to the page(s) were looking for, as was the case here. 

Once the document is scanned (always within hours except for Sundays), we can view or print the copy (if we have access to a printer), which we do here in Costa Rica in this fine villa. Since the document required completion with a signature, printing it was a necessity. We also needed to print the cover letter, which included coding and secure ID numbers. Thus, we ended up with two pages to print.

Not every topiary was indicative of a specific animal or item but, it is still interesting.

Once Tom completed the form, the next step was to get the two pages back to Railroad Retirement. Unfortunately, they don’t accept email for such conditions. That means we’d have to pay for a taxi to go to a post office, pay the postage to the US and also plan it could take upwards of a month to arrive.

But not for us! Our mailing service will handle that for about another US $2 (CRC 1151), preparing an envelope with our return address and a stamp. Then, all we’d have to do is scan the two pages and email both of them to the mailing service. 

Colorful stonework on a wall near the entrance to the church.

This morning I printed the two pages, after which Tom filled out the form, handing them back to me to scan and email. Sound easy, eh? Not so much. For some goofy reason, the software I’d downloaded for the new Brother Scanner we’d purchased from Amazon and received while in Nevada wasn’t working.

The application I needed and had used extensively when I’d done tons of scanning while in Nevada had somehow disappeared from my laptop, nor could we find the actual installation disk I’d used at the time to install it. 

Rainy day view from the church entrance to the topiary.

Sure, I could go online to Brother and install what I needed to complete the process, but I was bound and determined to figure out a solution to avoid doing this. Furthermore, I’d yet to start today’s post and didn’t want to spend an hour fooling around with an install.

Patience was not high on my priority list, but a determination was often the case. After about an hour, I figured out a workaround and got the documents to scan and into my email. Finally, I prepared the email message to Maillink, which they’ll receive and process tomorrow (Monday), confirming that the task has been completed.

Painting of Jesus in the interior of the church.

Today, while Tom watches the Minnesota Vikings game, I’ll work on installing the software if we have a good enough signal for streaming the game and performing a download. We shall see.

Have a wonderful Sunday or Monday wherever you may be in the world.

Photo from one year ago today, September 24, 2016:

In Sumbersari Bali, we met neighbors who invited us for a visit. This is their infinity pool. For more photos of their lovely property, please click here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *