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Mike Beaton, Published October 16 2010

Seeking help from Pomeroy turned out to be dead-end alley

Like many North Dakotans, we are frustrated with medical insurance coverage. Noting Congressman Earl Pomeroy’s, D-N.D., close ties with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and his seniority, we contacted his office about our problem. It appears we were led down a dead-end alley.

The subject claim was made on behalf of our mother, widow of our father, a World War II lieutenant who took eight German machine gun bullets in his right shoulder while leading his men in battle in France. The wound resulted in loss of the use of his right arm at age 24.

Dad’s disability allowed him to obtain health insurance through the Department of Defense. After his death at 47, Mom was able to continue his disabled veteran’s benefit insurance coverage.

This coverage, although not generous, did help Mom. The Department of Defense, through the Veteran’s Administration, set the rules, and several private companies were contracted by the government to administer them. We applied and received assistance, despite long and confusing procedures. Some claims were paid, some denied and some just not responded to. Our problem is the claims not responded to. Multiple contacts – verbal, written and e-mail – were made to no avail. Just no response.

We contacted the congressman’s office. The dead end came when we were told the claim was “old.” In order to review the file, we are required to write a “timely filing waiver” letter. The original claim was filed on time, and how are we to know what the government and the insurance companies were doing with the paperwork we submitted to them several times over many months?

Is our experience what we may expect in the future as government becomes more tangled in everyone’s health care? Obamacare? Where do we go, after months of attempts to bring resolution to this matter?

Ironically, Dad was the national commander of the Disabled American Veterans the year prior to his death in 1969. The DAV is an organization dedicated to helping disabled veterans.