Select Page

For two years I’ve known that C2’s insurance coverage under Captain OCD runs out when she turns 21. Because the standard is usually 24 years old if the dependent is a full-time student, I reread that paragraph of the insurance manual at least 100 times. Yep, 21, whether in school or not. Because his union self-insures, there are some odd rules, so this didn’t surprise me. For example, in this state, insurance companies are required to cover immunizations. Our insurance doesn’t. But how can that be? Turns out that self-insured companies are not held to the same rules.

A few days ago I called the insurance administrator about another matter and, when she asked if she could help me with anything else, I said yes: “About the part where dependents aren’t covered after 20 even if they’re full-time students . . .” “Oh, sure they are!” I was going to ask if it were possible to keep C2 on the same policy by paying for her insurance ourselves, since she wouldn’t be covered anymore. Her answer precluded the need for my question, but I knew what I had read. She continued, “As long as they remain full-time students, they’re covered until they turn 24.” Surely the rules had changed because I know what I read, but I didn’t mention that. Instead, I thanked her for the good news, hung up, then got out the manual so that I could prove her wrong. The paragraph was easy to find because I’d previously highlighted it because, judging from my prolific use of variously colored highlighting tools in textbooks, I must believe that highlighting – color-coded highlighting – improves one’s comprehension. Sure enough, it says what the woman on the phone said it did. I am a careful reader and had reread the paragraph many times because it contained important information, important enough to highlight, so the only explanation is that the words had changed while the manual was sitting in the filing cabinet. I congratulated myself for not being a jackass, this time, and insisting that she must be wrong because I know what I read many, many times.

I was telling Captain OCD this story this morning and he said he hates it when you read something and don’t find out until much later that you didn’t read what you thought you did. He said when he was a kid he had one of those Creepy Crawler toys that you use to mold bugs and things out of plastic goop. He ended up with a lot of bottles of the molding goop with about half an inch left in the bottom because the label said to not use the contents entirely. Because they weren’t empty, he didn’t throw them away, even though he couldn’t use them. He didn’t understand why he couldn’t use all the goop, but he followed the directions because he, a kid, was in no position to argue with Mattel, who surely knew more about their toys than he did. He was too young to understand that one reason for the warning could be so that kids like him had to buy even more goop. Until one day several years later he read the label again. It said to not use the contents internally.