This is why you will rarely see a special needs parent step up to manage a school auction. And yes, I actually sat down this morning, after opening up my inbox to discover my second piece of bad news for the day (more legal details to come) and shared all of these details with a bored bureaucrat who will most likely stamp my appeal “REJECTED” from some throne in the sky. I guess this is the Jerry Springer-ization of my life for some stranger.
Dear Benefits Claim and Appeal Manager,
I have just learned this morning that the Dependent Care FSA (DCFSA) requires annual re-enrollment. I had no idea that this was the case; I understood that I did not have to make any changes to my medical plan, if I intended to maintain a particular deductible level from year to year. I also understood that Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) would be covered with pre-authorization, during the upcoming 2013/14 plan year. I’m noting this point in particular to demonstrate that I felt that I had indeed read through the necessary material pertaining to any changes from year to year, since I have an autistic son, and the details of my medical insurance are obviously quite important to me and to the financial well-being of our family.
However, I did not see any details about the necessity of re-enrolling for the DCFSA. I’m sure that there was some mention of this somewhere along the way; but I honestly did not see this, or I most certainly would have re-enrolled. You see, I pay attention to a lot of details. I do all of this to avoid bankruptcy, as the therapies for my son cost approximately $4,500/month.
So somewhere along the way, I assumed that I did not have to “re-up” my monthly DCFSA set-aside, which I use for a tiny amount of tax relief for costs associated with sending my daughter to day-care, and soon “extended day” services for DC’s free pre-school programs (which I need in order to continue working for AcmeCorp and earning insurance benefits for my entire family).
In other words, I am pleading with you to allow me to enroll in AcmeCorp’s DCFSA benefit program, even though it is now August 14th, 2013. While there is no particular “new” life event to help rationalize this request, every day brings more bills, paperwork, and legal issues related to my autistic son. These are daily “life events” that most certainly present an understandable distraction from some of the smaller details – such as the need to re-enroll in the DCFSA benefit each year – that managed to elude me during the daily deluge of autism-related details.
I hope that you see this long letter as an honest explanation of events from an exhausted and well-meaning mother. And I hope that you can understand how and why I failed to note the re-enrollment rules for DCFSA.
 I have to file a claim for all of my son’s providers with whoever my health insurance provider happens to be. I then wait for the EOB to return from the insurance provider, scan that, and send it back to the service provider, who then sends the EOB onto Medicaid, who provides secondary coverage for all of the many treatments/therapies that Blue Cross Blue Shield and United Health Care do not cover. I have to manage all of the payments from health insurance providers, pass these on to service providers, follow-up with the insurer to investigate why a particular CPT code or date of service was rejected during any particular month, and maintain communication with the service provider, the insurer, and Medicaid.
 We are currently in the middle of a major legal battle with the DC Public School System, which allowed my son to lose all of his language and potty training skills during the past school year, among other crimes over the years (i.e. not noticing for 30+ minutes that he had left school property and wandered off to a field next to a six lane road), allowing him to eat garbage, and putting him in a classroom with a teacher who was not licensed nor certified to teach special education in the District of Columbia).