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Saturday, September 18, 2010

Wedded Bliss?

One medical insurance enrollment season when we were in Russia, we got an ultimatum from Fairfax County. If I wanted to take advantage of their retired teacher's insurance, I had to sign up THAT SEASON. When I had retired, the rule was that you could sign up any open enrollment season, but now that had changed. I called (yes, FROM MOSCOW – sometimes ya just gotta), and the new rule was that you had to join now or never. The only exception was that if you were under a spouse's insurance and later GOT DIVORCED, you could sign up the following open enrollment season. I was astounded, almost speechless: almost but not quite. How, I asked, could divorce be a requirement for insurance? The person with whom I spoke did not know how; she only knew the rules.
As a result, I moved off Steve's more highly supplemented insurance and paid a much higher rate to ensure that – his job being on a limited contract – we would never be without insurance. Were he to lose insurance, he could join during the following season. As anticipated, a year later, his job ended, and we both went on my medical insurance. Its rate is high, but it is excellent insurance, and, needless to say we are happy to have it despite the fact that it cost us an appreciable and unnecessary expenditure that first year.
Now we approach a new insurance season, and the County, in its wisdom, has added a new rule. In January, we will have to produce our marriage certificate to prove we are married.  Because, the past FORTY years notwithstanding, the listing of him on my school papers for the eight years I worked in Fairfax, and the joint tax returns are not good enough. (Actually I believe they are just trying to thin the ranks and so reduce their costs.  I could easily segue into a discussion, nay a yearning, for a one payer medical system, but I will show great discipline and stay on track here.) 

Now here's what I want to know regarding this new rule.  What percentage of people covered hve defrauded the County by falsely claiming marriage ?  And what has that cost the County COMPARED to the estimated cost of collecting and verifying every marriage cedrtificate from emplyees claiming the wedded state?  What's more, I want to know if they're going to check each and every present and past employee claiming to be married to see if the marriage certificate was at any time followed by a divorce degree.  Otherwise, isn't the entire mandate an exercise in futility? 

I have looked for the certificate. It's not as though I haven't. It wasn't among my parents' papers, and there's no way to ask them now. Or, at least, as my sister says, you can call, but the long distance rates are REALLY HIGH. The wedding album has long ago fallen apart. My Mom was never one to "waste money" on such things, so it was simply a rather cheap photo album. Anyway, there wasn't a place for it in the 3 x 5 photo slots in there. I had a memory album, but after 38 years I couldn't remember who that person was who gave me the blender, so it went to the dump many moons ago. I certainly can't remember the certificate's ever being in there among the cards and ribbons and invitations. I looked in our lock box. We have birth certificates and passports, but no wedding certificate. My have my social security card is in there from when I changed my name, but no, not the scrap of paper that's required. What's more, NO ONE has wanted to look at it until now.
Honestly, I don't think we ever had a marriage certificate in our possession. I can't recall seeing it after I signed the license application. The State filed it, or my Mom or Dad took it or something. It was 40 years ago, folks, gimme a break. Oh, oops, the Bureaucracy of Stupid Rules never gives anyone a break.

Wait -- do you think maybe we're not married after all? Perhaps the children are illegitimate! Dare I tell them? Maybe all our joint property isn't. AEIIIiiii (sound fades away as Ann falls down a well of non-reality.)

(Much noise of climbing and grumbling. Her head peaks out over lip of well.) We can only hope that the great State of New Jersey, in its organized and knowledgeable wisdom will be happy to produce a certificate for us (at least, after we give them $30). Organized? Knowledgeable? Oh, drat, I'm doomed.


  1. It made me smile, your image of you peeking out over the lip of the well. Hope this all sorts out fine for you ...

  2. Aaaah, bureaucracy. Keeps so many in paid employment...