Monday, June 09, 2008

Idiotic Carrier Tricks

[Welcome Industry Radar readers!]
So you may be asking "Henry, don't you mean Stupid Carrier Tricks?"
Sadly, no.
Regular readers may recall our piece on group insurance audits, wherein employers are required to verify that the folks on the plan are supposed to be, and that everyone that's supposed to be on the plan is [ed: clear as mud]. Early last week, one of my groups received such a request from its carrier, United Healthcare (UHC). They called me, and I helped them fill out the form. Once it was completed, they faxed it to me and I forwarded it on to our service rep. Total time involved: maybe 15 minutes, tops.
Later in the week, I received an email from the service rep: UHC wanted to know what the form was for, and why we'd sent it. Here is my response, copied directly from the "Sent" folder:
"UHC is run by idiots and/or morons. PLEASE feel free to forward that, BTW.
UHC sent this form to my client, who then complied by actually, um, completing and submitting the form as requested by the idiots/morons at UHC home office.
That help?"
My rep assured me that he'd take care of it (and I knew that he would: Don is exceptionally good at this, and really does make my job easier). He also said he'd delete my unsolicited review of UHC personnel (darn!). Well, at least I could put it away and move on.
Sure! This morning, I received a copy of a letter that UHC has sent my client, which starts with "Advanced Notification of Contract Cancellation Due To No Response And/Or Incomplete."
Let me get this straight: we get the form, we complete the form, we return the completed form, we're asked WHY we sent the completed form, and now we're facing cancellation because we didn't return the completed form?
So I called Don, and brought him up to speed. He asked me to email the letter and he'd get this resolved. So I did (and what did I title the pdf file? This: [client]_uhc_morons.pdf).
But you said tricks, Henry. Is there more?
Oh, indeed yes, dear reader:
Sometime around the last week of May, the owner of another of my groups called to tell me he would be turning 65 in June, and needed some advice. His spouse has some health issues, and we really need to keep her on the group, which we have with Anthem. He's continuing to work, so that's not a big problem. I explained to him that, since it's under 20 employees, Medicare is primary and so the group essentially becomes a Medicare Supplement plan.
"That's nice, Henry," he said, "but what's it gonna cost me?" Well, let's look at the renewal, which should have the MedSup rates in it.
Except it doesn't. So I request these rates. Three times in the past two and a half weeks. And until just a few minutes ago, I couldn't get them. The penultimate email read:
"I sincerely apologize for the delay in getting the Medicare rates to you. Enrollment/Billing was not able to pull them for me so I have to go back to underwriting to see if they can provide. I am hoping for a response from the underwriter today. I will let you know as soon as I get something back from her."
I received that about an hour ago, and replied:
"I guess it's comforting to know that UHC isn't the only company run by incomptent morons and idiots. Just not VERY comforting."
Five minutes ago (while I was composing this post), I received this wonderful news:
"The member that is turning 65 would pay the same rate as the active members. The renewal rates are based on the current census and since this member was not on Medicare at the time of the renewal, the Medicare rates will not apply until their next renewal."
Anyone else see the problem with that?
I'll keep you posted.
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