If ever I needed an insurance agent to handle my case, this was it.
My experience in customer service representative, or CSR, purgatory over the past two months is something to behold.
Never in my life have I ever sustained so many customer service calls to the same company about the same subject. Having lived a half-century on three continents, that’s saying something.
To recap: In mid-July, I received written notice that my health care coverage had ended as of May 31.
This came as a surprise and sent me scrambling to my bank account, which indicated that I had made my monthly payments of $722.84 since the beginning of the year.
I called the 877 number on my health card.
Previous details of my billing kerfuffle are available here and this blog post moves the story forward from where we last left it Aug. 3.
I called every Friday for a month to get the situation resolved. And then I called again in the middle of the following week because I’d been promised a call the previous Monday with an update on my status, but never heard back from the CSR.
From my end of the line, the pattern was remarkably consistent:
- The 877 number comes through.
- A CSR gets on the line.
- They read the data off the computer screen from their limited view of my account.
- They announce that I’m behind on premiums.
- They say I was refunded $926.28 after my account was suspended at the end of May.
- They check the internal email messaging system that says my case has indeed been kicked up to the “finance department.”
- They reiterate that that company is awaiting resolution from the finance department.
- They enter yet another ticket into the system that confirms we’ve talked.
- They agree to call back after the weekend.
After that, the CSR leaves work at 5 p.m. sharp and punts the problem account into the next day to another colleague.
My coverage extension expired Aug. 25. So around Aug. 18, I spoke with a CSR named Tara and impressed upon her the importance of resolving the company’s billing issues.
She called back – the only CSR to do so.
Apparently my November 2015 premium payment of $519.44 was never withdrawn from my bank account. As a result, my 2016 payments were being applied to previous “underpayment,” until I was finally cut off in May, flagged by the billing system as a deadbeat.
I paid my November 2015 and August 2016 premium in one lump sum.
With one click of a button, Tara green-lighted my entire account. We could all sleep at night knowing that if my daughter suffered severe injury on the soccer field, we wouldn’t be staring at bankruptcy.
Over the past eight weeks, I’ve spoken with no less than eight to 10 UnitedHealthcare customer service reps and their supervisors or “case escalators.”
No one could ever tell me why my November 2015 payment for $519.44 was never debited from my bank account but it sure has caused havoc on my account.
So we enter the month of September in good shape, or so I thought.
Last week I called to authorize an electronic payment for $722.84 from my bank to the company and the CSR on the phone wanted to update my records.
Sure enough, the CSR Bryan got on the phone showing my account in arrears for $519.40, the amount of unpaid premium dating back to November 2015. This time, though, I had my confirmation number from my chat 10 days ago with Tara.
Bryan entered a ticket into the system to indicate that I’d paid both my August 2016 and November 2015 premium on Aug. 23. He promised that I’d get a call back in three business days.
That should be right about at the time this blog is posted. Stay tuned, I’ll let you know if he gives me a shout.
InsuranceNewsNet Senior Writer Cyril Tuohy has covered the financial services industry for more than 15 years. Cyril may be reached at [email protected].
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