My spouse pays Medicare (taken from Social Security) as do I - monthly.
In addition our Supplement (BC BS) premiums (hers) amounts to another $5,000 and more per year.
Then, we get an invoice (frequently) for a "tiny" (in my eye) amount, the current example
11/04/2014 US breast (Service)
$110.63 Insurance Paid
$4.69 Payment Due (
statement Date 2/4/2015
My gripe is - I am quite certain it costs a lot more than $4.69 to send the Invoice
and then also to process the payment.
I can may the payment on line so at least that saves the postage stamp price.
But what is the point.
If you owed me five cents but I paid a quarter to collect the five cents, does that show much sense / intelligence?
I think not.
I would like to see practices and policies change, wouldn't you?
Computers have no hearts or common sense. I don't think it will change. How much does it cost the Govt. to make a penny?
Your story reminds me of a new system that I once worked on. This huge international insurance company had a process of spreading premium income across various areas at the end of the quarter and year end. Well, as the new system was coming on-line, the very large and state-of-the-art server being used with huge amounts of data capacity would still be crunching days later. Some of the amounts being spread around were very small. Since there are serious fines if a corporation fails to file with the SEC in a certain period of time, the powers that be were starting to sweat. This was a great topic in the twice daily meetings with 60-70 people, maybe 40-50 of them accountants. I don't recall how they resolved it since I wasn't that close to the solutions end. But it sounds like a for-profit equivalent of your Medicare story of trying to see how many angels can dance on the head of a pin.
Regarding processing - way back in the stone ages I got struck by a fit of insanity that said "programming" would be fun (and it was!). An insurance company took me on (assistant programmer in training) and an in-house program that began (1974) January 21 wrapped up early April (around the 7th). Interesting that they trained me in COBOL and in Job Control Language, then (probably because I had a degree in philosophy and had done graduate work in theology) they assigned me to a "mini" computer (DEC PDP-11 40 and later PDP-11 70) where the "front end" gathered paper form responses for Group Insurance. About once a quarter a job ran to update some procedures tables and history of charges (by geographical area) and this was a program that ran about 12 hours. The "input" was from Mag(netic) tape(s) and there was ONE record per read.
My (simple) change combined 256 records into a single Magtape read, after which the length of the job was reduced to about thirty minutes. Just read a lot at once, then LOOP through the records in a single buffer.
I don't know why that had not been obvious to the programmers that came ahead of me (historically).
Programming was fun! More accurately, design, program, implement, install and somewhat, support. Managing all of that was fun too as long as you could keep your hand in on the technical side. When that function became tracking what others were doing by when, especially if you had no direct power over them (called project management), it became more of a drag, even if more lucrative. :-))))
I have received a bill for 1 red penny. Yes, programming was fun and much more fun in decade oriented assembler,
JCL, COBOL, Natural, Quikjob, etc. I had a really hard time with the new megaized systems that I could not
wrap my around the entire system. Loved to install my own assigned package, read 4 five inch thick manuals
and eventually mastered the system. New systems = you only learn a small area of one section of programming.
College spent tons of $$ to buy a monstrous sized systems that came with no reports, ineffective manuals and
no conversion instructions. We had 18 consultants at one time working on different segments. I retired !!
Just my 2 cents !!
I remember that several years ago, if you had a credit on your AT&T account they would send you a letter and ask if you wanted to apply the credit to your next bill or if you wanted it returned to you as a paper check. At some point I got really angry with AT&T for some reason. So every month I deliberately overpaid them by $0.30. Then when they sent me the letter I demanded that they send my $0.30 back to me in the form of a paper check. I figured that between the letter and the check it cost them at least $2.00 to return my $0.30 every month. Petty but satisfying!
Wow, several years ago I wondered why I was overcharged 30 cents each month. Kidding!!!!
funny but so true...
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