We had an interesting letter in the mail recently. In an effort to reduce costs related to insurance fraud, the administrators of our health insurance plans spent a goodish amount of money to do a verification process on everyone listed as a spouse, domestic partner, child, you name it. According to the letter we had a few weeks to verify that we were indeed married. If we didn't verify by a certain date, my insurance would be retroactively cancelled.
I must admit to a moment of silliness when I read the letter. "So, Trent...apparently the insurance company is picking on us because I didn't change my last name when we got married." Not that I am paranoid, but this may have been the truth. Someone looked at the different last names and decided that we couldn't possibly be married because we don't have the same last name. Who'd keep a difficult to spell, and harder to pronounce, Hungarian name when they could change it to a much simpler Irish one? It still surprises me that in the twenty-first century we assume that someone has to change their name when they get married. It used to be automatic, in Colorado at least; a woman who wanted to retain her maiden name had to file court documents and get it changed back to the original. Now it is optional, but not in everyone's opinion. And when I got married, I did not have any strong feelings one way or the other. But one day, Trent said that he had no problem with me keeping my own, very unique, name. So I didn't change it. Nobody's feelings were hurt, and life rolled on.
We had another laugh over the verifying of spouse-hood when I said, "Yeah, we're not married, Trent...I've just hung around while you had seventeen surgeries in thirteen and a half years because it seemed like fun." Actually, it may be eighteen, I have sort of lost count. I really worry about what might happen if I end up being the one having surgery one of these years. The sudden role reversal may make us lose our minds. You know you've done a lot of post-operative care when you beg the nurses not to read you the care instructions before you sign the discharge sheet. If it sounds like I am complaining, I apologize. I have taken care of Trent's assorted wounds with love. I knew he had health issues when we got married, and have done reasonably well as a helper, I hope.
On to the verification process. I glanced at the requirements for some of the categories other than spousal verification. I was stunned. In some cases, the relationships had to be verified by filling out affidavits and having them notarized. In our case, we needed a copy of our Marriage Certificate, which we have a couple of on hand "just in case." But that wasn't even enough. We had to prove that not only were we legally wed, but were also living together. Not that we had the same addresses as one another the last thirteen-plus years (sarcasm, folks). So we had to get a copy of our lease renewal to show that we aren't just married strangers.
So we faxed the necessary documents to the "dependent verification center," and when we followed up we were told all was well. To save even more money, the center mailed us a letter saying that I was verified as a dependent at this time, but there were no guarantees that I would be considered a dependent in the future. Egads! Maybe they are trying to artificially create job security. Who knows? Another week or two went by, and another letter. This time they need to know who is Trent's beneficiary. You see, they have made the switch from paper to electronic record-keeping, and they can't be bothered with updating the system with the information that they already have on hand. Hoop-jumping, round two!