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Health plans that sicken the weak and infuriate the strong–UPDATED: The weirdness never ends

March 5, 2009

No, that isn’t a 747 idling in my study. Evidently, it’s the phone queue “hold music” at Regence’s HSA department. I just want them to know it’s pathogenically irritating, but I declined to participate in their service satisfaction survey after my session with the awaited “award winning customer service specialist.” I’ve been on hold now for exactly 9 minutes and counting. . . .

Why do they lie? Why don’t they just say, “Look, you HSA people are low life, you don’t matter, we’re all at lunch, and you can just jolly call back at 6:30 a.m. when we are not having such a wonderful time!”

Twelve minutes. I’ll jolly call back when they are not having such a wonderful time. I am low life. I don’t matter. My time, and certainly my money, are not important. I’m just an HSA person, trying to learn why I am being billed for things my contract says I will not be billed for. It really doesn’t matter.

Thirteen minutes twenty-seven seconds. Bye, Regence. I’m off to plan your institutional funeral.

I attempt to email Regence through its website.  I carefully include my claim number and all pertinent information.  The email submit button sends the little circle turning.  But nothing happens.  The email will not send.  I copy the contents of my email, hit escape, and start over.  The email still will not send.  Evidently their server is at lunch, no doubt having a wonderful time.
The phone rings.  It is a cheery lady from Regence.  I had emailed the saga to my husband, who called Regence and got right through.  

The cheery lady looks up the claim and verifies that the bill was correctly coded as preventive care.  Regence made a processing error.  She apologizes for my frustration.  I assure her that I am responsible for my frustration; she need only apologize for the claim processing error, the horrendous phone wait I experienced, and the lack of email access. 

She suggests that I report these things to Customer Service and offers to give me the number.

UPDATE THE FOLLOWING DAY: Despite the Submission Error message and the endless spinning of the little circle and the lack of confirmation, it seems my email to Regence did go through yesterday. I received a response today from a very pleasant Customer Service Specialist. Her response was utterly inconsistent with the explanation I received from the Customer Service Specialist over the phone yesterday.

Phone lady: You are correct, there is no-copay for things not applied to your deductible.

Email lady: Yes, there is a co-pay for things not applied to your deductible.

Welcome to health care in America, where all the patients are strong, and all the Customer Service Specialists must be good looking.

Well, and few snafus here and there, but nothing a few trillion can’t fix.


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