The Superior Express -

Editor's Notebook


What do I write about this week? When Saturday’s New York Times arrived in my mail box on Monday morning, I thought I might have an idea. I struggled the rest of Monday and part of Tuesday trying to get the words to flow but they never came.

That article reported on how divided Rural America is when it comes to medical advice related to COVID-19 and the vaccines.

I don’t remember it being that way when Jonas Salk developed the first polio vaccine. I do remember the long lines of people waiting their turn for an opportunity to receive the vaccine. I stood in those lines and to this day I am thankful for the vaccine and that I didn’t suffer the same fate as did my friends who contracted polio.

At the first opportunity, I reported for a COVID shot. I’m thankful about half of the residents of this area who are eligible have received the shots, but what about the other half? It isn’t because the vaccine isn’t available. The Jewell County Health Department has enough vaccine available that it is being made available to people who are not residents of Jewell County.

I marveled on Monday when the postal service delivered both Saturday’s New York newspaper and Thursday’s Belleville Telescope. Seems strange a paper published 37 miles from Superior took longer to arrive in my mail box than did one published 1,420 miles away. The New York paper arrived at the same time I expect the Omaha World-Herald to arrive and Omaha is only 182.8 miles away.

Tuesday I was confused over two letters I received from the John Hancock Insurance Company. Rita and I both have subscribed to the company’s long term care insurance for more than 25 years. We are billed quarterly and pay our premiums with one check on which the policy numbers are noted. We also return the billing notices and note the amount being paid.

In April we were notified the policies had been cancelled for non-payment of premium. We checked our bank records and found three checks had been written to the company during the time period in question. I called the company and, after waiting what seemed like hours, got to talk with a real person. She checked her records and found a day or so before I called the company had recorded the cashing of one of the ckecks. I was advised another payment would be due on May 5 and a notice would be mailed prior to that date.

On May 1, we received notices reporting the policies would be suspended again if payment was not received by May 5.

On May 4, we received two letters from the company. The one addressed to me said the policy had been reinstated but I must pay $874.10 within 15 days from April 22 (I calculated that to be Monday, May 10) to keep the policy and the payment would pay for coverage through Aug. 5.

Rita’s letter said her policy had also been reinstated on the same date in February and that it was paid to May 5. The letter didn’t say a thing about how much money was needed to be paid by May 5 to keep the policy in force.

If we hadn’t taken our COVID shots, I may have been tempted to drop the policies and count on being taken by COVID before needing long-term care insurance. Since we have had both shots, better try and keep the long-term care insurance.

The letters indicated if we had a problem we should contact our agent, Steven Headrick.

I wish we could do that, Steve and I had been friends since we were both youngsters growing up in the Olive Hill community southwest of Superior and I trusted him to give me sound insurance advice. But Steve died July 26, 2016. I can’t contact him.

If the company’s agent records are five years behind, why should I expect them to know when I made payments in 2021?


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