Letter: Absurdities of Chicago’s 'flexible medical account'

December 19, 2007


The flexible medical account is absurd even for Chicago Board of Education standards. Let me know what you think and whether there is there any way sanity can prevail?

I also sent this material to Alexander Russo (blog at District299. com), but he has not seen fit to mention it at his blog. To him I wrote: “This may not be of any real interest to the general CPS readership but it such an absurd circumstance I thought I’d email you. If you think it has any usefulness as comic relief for the masses, use it on your blog.”

I talked to a Union staff member (see below) who handles medical benefits yesterday; he finds the situation equally as ridiculous as I and asked for a print copy of my letter. Here is the situation as I described it to him:

December 17, 2007

Peter Ardito

Health & Benefits

Member Services Coordinator

Chicago Teacher Union

In December of 2006 I joined the flexible spending component option of our contract. To my dismay I was only allowed to put in a little over $100 in per paycheck; consequently it took me a full year to have the maximum amount.

This December (2007), I instructed my dentist to access my funds in the flexible spending account (nearly $3,000). After numerous phone calls made by my dentist’s receptionist and countless time spent trying to figure out exactly how to access my own money, the receptionist was told that she could only bill each time for $15.00. At that rate, she will have to swipe my flexible debt card 200 times.

I thought that she certainly must have misunderstood the instructions. Today I called the firm (866-755-2648) and talked to Peggy. She verified that – yes, my dentist office would have to swipe my card 200 times in order to retrieve my own money.

This is beyond ridiculous; it’s bizarre and I am embarrassed that we are involved with such an absurd operation.

I assume I will be able to retrieve my funds but please warn our members not to become involved with this group. Please inform the Bd. of this absurd occurrence.

You have my permission to use my name and any contents of this letter.

Bernie Eshoo, Librarian

Steinmetz HS, Chicago


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