Tuesday, December 08, 2015

Frustrating Carrier Trick, Resolved

Last year, we signed Suzy up for a Silver plan from Humana; she also chose to add the dental rider. This year, despite that well-known promise ("If you like your plan..."), she received the dreaded "Your plan has been discontinued" letter from them. In and of itself, this wasn't really a huge deal: she was disappointed, of course, and quite interested in keeping at least the dental plan with them. We determined that she could, and went shopping.

Ultimately, we ended up staying with Humana (albeit under a slightly different plan), including the dental.

All seemed good.

Unfortunately, things did not go as seamlessly as we'd hoped (and been promised): Humana levied a $35 (re-)activation fee on the dental, then double billed the actual premium in November.

Suzy tried calling, spending over an hour on the phone, to no avail. That's when I stepped in.

I also spent almost two (ultimately unproductive) hours on the phone with Humana, including being shunted to multiple people (all with different, often contradictory, answers) and being hung up on (twice). Eventually, I threw in that towel and reached out to their media relations folks to let them know I'd be sharing the gory details with our readers.

To their credit, they responded promptly, and efficiently. I was contacted by Natalie, who's in a special problem resolution area, who asked me how she could help. I explained the circumstances, and my three goals:

1 - Refund of the $35 fee
2 - Accounting for the second premium withdrawal
3 - That they review and correct the various service issues I'd experienced (so that the next poor shlub who called wouldn't have such a hard time).

Natalie proved to be very helpful, and noted that this was actually a good learning experience for their customer service folks. Within a day we had Humana's agreement to refund the errant $35 application fee, as well as the extra month's premium.

I understand that MLR has greatly exacerbated the already difficult challenges of hiring (and keeping) adequate service staff, but my (and Suzy's) experience was unacceptable under any circumstances. So I'm pleased that Humana has resolved this quickly and fairly, and really appreciate Natalie's persistence and help.

[Special IB Thanks to Humana's Natalie K and Jeff B]
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