13 October 2008

Health insurance, HSAs, IRS & SS

The last two months have been relatively nightmarish in dealing with bureaucracy. First it was acquiring health insurance, then confusion on my social security/earnings, then a small problem with our HSA and now back to health insurance again.

So, if I could take just a few lines to gripe a little.......as if this is new.........I will show why health insurance companies are the devil and why using a tele-computer operator should be against the law.

Health insurance....remember, I was turned down. I finally was able to get some inkling why after much phone time with a machine....it was because I had sought chiropractic attention for the muscle I pulled in my neck while working out. Absolutely remarkable. So, in order to appeal this decision by my health insurance company of 10 years I had to round up letters from my doctor and that brief stint with the chiropractor. I sent everything in again.......with a stellar health record.....only to be informed that, sure, they'd accept me, but I was considered high risk and my premiums are nearly double what they should be. I'm not sure why I exercise and don't drink, binge eat and smoke given this.

So, now that I'm accepted along with the rest of the family, Anthem Blue Cross/Blue Shield wanted me to also pay for September, the month that I was not covered by them...because the policy was retro-active. I called Friday and tried to get a good answer as to why I should pay for a service that their company had refused to give me, and if they would reimburse me for having to find interim insurance. She said she'd get back to me that day. She didn't. So I called today and first talked to the computer, then sat on hold for an hour before I got someone else who couldn't give me an answer and was forwarded to another person who evidently knows what to do with irate callers..........give in to their demands. Although her solution makes me a little leery - like it might end up costing more than if I had just paid September. I know based on my hourly billing, had I been working, it would have been cheaper to pay the amount they were swindling me for.

on a side note.....I will have to admit I think McCain's health insurance plan would be more beneficial to our family specifically. Didn't see that one coming, did you?

And then there's this whole Social Security mess. I received a statement from SS on my earnings and potential benefits. For some reason, the last three year's earnings were not listed. So, I call and the computer can't understand my mother's maiden name nor can it understand my issue and kept repeating questions......finally I started to get mouthy with the computer and it conceded and said it would direct me to an operator. Twenty minutes later I had a very friendly operator who said she'd send a form for me to file through the mail immediately. I completed the form and mailed it to the local SS office as it directed me to. Then I called the local office a week later to verify they had it.......and after at least a dozen attempts (no lie) I finally go through and they said they would have the person in charge call me back. I never heard from them. So, I called the DC office again....going through the same game and she said she'd have the local office call me within 3 days. They never did, but I did receive a statement from the local office within about 8 days.

They corrected 2 of the 3 years. Dangit! Now, another call to SS and they said I should contact the local and I said politely......."mam, I can never, ever get through". So she emailed me another form which I completed and sent out last week, she also suggested I call the IRS. I don't have it in me to call this week.

And then we noticed something fishy on our HSA......like someone else's name on our account. Hmmm. So I contacted my good friend at the local bank branch and they took care of it right away......evidently we shared an account number with some strangers in Lake County, who I'm sure were wondering why they were paying bills in river city.

I'm just wondering if I could check outa the whole system......live off the land and all, kinda like the Amish. I promise-my only rant for the week!

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Let me know how that Amish thing works out for you!!!! You know there is always that Druid thing!

PNW Hoosier said...

You know that I am a die hard Hoosier forever. However, I have to admit that since living outside the state for nearly a decade, the way we do a lot of things back home is very strange and inefficient.

jimgrey said...

I worked for Anthem BC/BS, aka WellPoint, the nation's largest private health insurer, in my checkered past. I worked in info tech, but was close to one of the call centers, so I can say pretty authoritatively and without sarcasm or rancor that telephone customer service is primarily a cost to be managed. The CSRs are measured on throughput, held to strict average call times, a number of minutes so small that only the simplest issues can be resolved, e.g., "I lost my insurance card; could you send me another?"

It's not that much different in claims adjudication, appeals, etc. -- these jobs take lots of people to do them, and even at about $8/hr to start, that's a huge-mongous cost for the insurer. So they're all squeezed to within an inch of their life with stiff quotas and other measures.

The effect on the worker is pretty tall. The work becomes extremely onerous, trying to meet the standards set. Frankly, if I were unemployed and broke, I think I'd rather work at the Dairy Queen than as a CSR at Anthem.

Anonymous said...
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hoosier reborn said...

pnw.....nooooo.....strange and inefficient we are?

jim....so, what you're saying is that I shoulda been a little nicer!?!?