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Kitchen Sink

Groundhog Day with Blue Shield of California

May 13th, 2010

A bit of background: My new insurance plan with Blue Shield of California was effective April 1. My premium was $589.30. I paid $864.26 on March 30, which paid me through May 15. Two weeks later, the dopes at Blue Shield debited my account $589.30. I alerted them to the problem and said I’d be stopping payment since I’d already paid for the month. They said OK. Seems quite straightforward, no?

 

NO.

 

A few weeks ago, I called Blue Shield to confirm the billing snafu was fixed. This is what transpired next:

 

Ring ring.

 

Automated voice: Hello. Are you a provider or a subscriber?

 

Me: A subscriber.

 

Automated voice: OK, please input your provider ID.

 

Me: I’m a subscriber.

 

Automated voice: OK, please input your provider ID.

 

Me: I’m a subscriber.

 

Automated voice: I am having trouble understanding you. Please call again.

 

**Automatron hangs up**

 

Two seconds later…

 

**Ring ring**

 

Automated voice: Hello. Are you a provider or a subscriber?

 

Me: Get me a human.

 

Automated voice: Hello. Are you a provider or a subscriber?

 

Me: Get me a human.

 

Automated voice: Hello. Are you a provider or a subscriber?

 

Me: Get me a human.

 

Automated voice: OK. I am transferring you to someone who can help.

 

Me: It better be a human.

 

A Human: Hello. Are you a provider or a subscriber?

 

Me: A subscriber.

 

The Human: Can I get a provider ID?

 

Me: I am a subscriber.

 

The Human: Can I have your provider ID?

 

Me: I am a subscriber.

 

The Human: OK. Can I have your subscriber ID?

 

Five minutes later after the pertinent administrative details are shared…

 

The Human: How can I help you?

 

Me: I paid $864 last month, which should bring me current to May 15. You have me owing over $1,000 and it’s May 1. There’s a problem here.

 

The Human: We show that we refunded you $589.30, so you owe us $1,000.

 

Me: No. I stopped payment on the $589 because you overcharged me.

 

The Human: We show we refunded it to your credit card.

 

Me: You don’t have a credit card on file for me so that is impossible.

 

The Human: Nope, we refunded it to a credit card.

 

Me: Get me a smarter human.

 

The Human: Just a moment please

 

Many moments later…

 

A potentially smarter human: Can I help you?

 

Me: I paid $864 last month, which should bring me current to May 15. You have me owing over $1,000 and it’s May 1. There’s a problem here.

 

The potentially smarter human: We show that we refunded you $589.30, so you owe us $1,000.

 

Me: No. I stopped payment on the $589 because you overcharged me.

 

The potentially smarter human: We show we refunded it to your credit card.

 

Me: You don’t have a credit card on file for me so that is impossible.

 

The potentially smarter human: Nope, we refunded it to a credit card.

 

Me: Get me a smarter supervisory human.

 

The potentially smarter human: Just a moment please

 

Many moments later…

 

A potentially smarter supervisory human: Can I help you?

 

Me: I paid $864 last month, which should bring me current to May 15. You have me owing over $1,000 and it’s May 1. There’s a problem here.

 

The potentially smarter supervisory human: We show that we refunded you $589.30, so you owe us $1,000.

 

Me: No. I stopped payment on the $589 because you overcharged me.

 

The potentially smarter supervisory human: We show we refunded it to your credit card.

 

Me: You don’t have a credit card on file for me so that is impossible.

 

The potentially smarter supervisory human: Nope, we refunded it to a credit card. …..Wait….

 

Me: Oh great. Someone who gets it. After an hour on the phone. That’s refreshing.

 

The potentially smarter supervisory human: I understand your frustration. Give me a minute.

 

Many minutes later…

 

The potentially smarter supervisory human: I am going to transfer you to someone in billing.

 

Me: Of course you are.

 

Many minutes later…

 

Someone in billing: Hi. Now what is the problem?

 

Me: Are you fucking kidding me?

 

Someone in billing: I understand your frustration. Now what is the issue?

 

Me: I paid $864 last month, which should bring me current to May 15. You have me owing over $1,000 and it’s May 1. There’s a problem here.

 

Someone in billing: We show that we refunded you $589.30, so you owe us $1,000.

 

Me: No. I stopped payment on the $589 because you overcharged me.

 

Someone in billing: We show we refunded it to your credit card.

 

Me: You don’t have a credit card on file for me so that is impossible.

 

Someone in billing: Nope, we refunded it to a credit card. …..Wait….

 

Me: Good God.

 

Someone in billing: This isn’t a valid credit card number. We don’t have a credit card on file for you. This refund went nowhere. You don’t owe us $1,000.

 

Me: No shit.

 

Someone in billing: I understand your frustration. I will take care of this for you.

 

Me: I will suspend my disbelief long enough to believe that is true.

 

Someone in billing: I understand your frustration. I promise to take care of this for you.

 

Me: Can I have your name, rank, and serial number?

 

Someone in billing: I understand your frustration. I really do promise to take care of this for you.

 

Me: Please do so and call me to confirm your error has been fixed.

 

Two days later and no confirmation phone call…

 

Ring ring…

 

Automated voice: Hello. Are you a provider or a subscriber?

 

Me: Get me a human.

 

Automated voice: OK. I am transferring you to someone who can help.

 

Me: It better be a human.

 

A Human: Hello. Are you a provider or a subscriber?

 

Me: A subscriber.

 

The Human: Can I get a provider ID?

 

Me: I am a subscriber.

 

The Human: Can I have your provider ID?

 

Me: I am a subscriber.

 

The Human: OK. Can I have your subscriber ID?

 

Five minutes later after the pertinent administrative details are shared…

 

The Human: How can I help you?

 

Me: As I explained to Joe Didn’t Take Care of It two days ago, I paid $864 last month, which should bring me current to May 15. You have me owing over $1,000 and it’s May 1. Your records showed that you refunded money to my credit card, which is nonexistent. Please read the notes to get up to date.

 

Takes much time to read the notes…

 

The Human: We show that we refunded you $589.30, so you owe us $1,000.

 

Me: No. I stopped payment on the $589 because you overcharged me.

 

The Human: We show we refunded it to your credit card.

 

Me: As I said, you don’t have a credit card on file for me so that is impossible.

 

The Human: Nope, we refunded it to a credit card.

 

Me: Get me a smarter human.

 

The Human: Just a moment please…

 

Suffice to say, I never did get a Smarter Human. And if you think it was interminable to read this…imagine going through it FIVE DIFFERENT TIMES. Swear to God. And at the end of EACH PHONE CALL, getting the “I will take care of it, m’aam,” only to realize it was never taken care of and you are going to tell the world that Blue Shield sucks because that is the only weapon in your arsenal. I’d almost rather deal with the government, and THAT is a sign of pure desperation.

 

Hopefully, I can overcome my frustration long enough to return to normal tomorrow. Right after I glue my hair back on and recover from the coronary.

 

« « Stuff I Like: Anatomy of a Swag Bag    |    The Knowing » »

On May 13th, 2010, thordora said:

I might just work in a call center, but I know that me not screwing it up on that first call makes a WORLD of difference in someone’s day/week/month.

A little pride in yr work folks.

And wow. That’s some impressive, to get THAT many monkeys in a row. I’d check consumerist for email bomb info…

On May 13th, 2010, Kizz said:

Part of my job is to make those calls to vendors/providers/banks/etc. on behalf of other people. Once I spent almost 3 hours on the phone doing just this, got hung up on twice in the middle, and wound up actually pounding my shoe on my desk for emphasis all Kruschev at the UN-style. When I got off the phone I couldn’t stop laughing because it was so ridiculous. Even funnier? The company in question was a phone service provider. GAH!

I hope you get resolution and satisfaction soon.

On May 13th, 2010, Tweets that mention San Diego Momma » Blog Archive » Groundhog Day with Blue Shield of California -- Topsy.com said:

[…] This post was mentioned on Twitter by San Diego Momma and Kinzie Jones, Kinzie Jones. Kinzie Jones said: RT @sandiegomomma: Read this before signing up with Blue Shield: http://sandiegomomma.com/2010/05/13/groundhog-day-with-blue-shield-of-c … […]

On May 13th, 2010, JenniferfromLaJolla said:

My blood pressure is now elevated in support of you.

Funny how they can’t get this right, but no problem rescinding coverage and raising premiums. I hate insurance companies. With a passion.

On May 13th, 2010, Ami said:

Call your state insurance oversight… not sure what it’s called in the state of California.

Do some screaming.

Good luck.

On May 13th, 2010, Christina said:

Holy Balls!! Firstly I am floored at how much insurance costs (says the gal spoiled rotten by coverage through her employer since the age of 21)…secondly…what a string of utter morons!! I’m all stressed out on your behalf just reading this. I cannot imagine where you are (besides hiding in a closet with a gallon each of vodka & ice cream).

On May 13th, 2010, Bejewell said:

AT&T did this to me a couple of years ago, right before we were set to leave for Thanksgiving. I talked to 38 people before the issue was fixed. THIRTY. EIGHT. PEOPLE. That’s 3-8. 38 times I had to explain the issue. 38 times I was told it would be fixed. Oh, except for that one asshole who HUNG UP ON ME. ON PURPOSE.

Still bitter? Who, me? NAH.

On May 14th, 2010, green girl in Wisconsin said:

It’s not just Blue Cross. it’s also United Health Care. I wish I wish I wish we just had universal health care and put the motherf*ckers all out of business.

On May 14th, 2010, Mama Mary said:

This was hilarious and painful to read all at the same time. I have been through this with them before too. And At&T and Chase Credit Services. UGH! I want to pull my hair out just thinking about it.
But you are funny and I like you.

On May 14th, 2010, Danielle said:

I’ve also been through is multiple times. My favorite is when I ordered something from Sprint for my phone and they sent me a box but it was empty and I called to inquire, after sitting on hold for 45 mins the CSR said to me ” Well sometimes they do just send out empty boxes” There was a lot of yelling and four letter words after that from me…I hope they may actually take care of it for you.

On May 15th, 2010, debbie said:

oh. my. god.
that was like one of the most painful things i have ever had to read…i canNOT imagine having to go through that.
i’m not doing a ‘superior dance’ at all here, but…i have never had to go through anything like that with an insurance company.
We get other frustation-fixes when we go to the city office or other government offices.
grrrrr.
you deserve something really nice after that.

On May 15th, 2010, Twenty Four At Heart said:

I can’t tell you how much I relate to this post. I hate medical insurance companies … only in my case, the anger and frustration is directed at Blue Cross.

On May 18th, 2010, Michele @ The Integrated Mother said:

I laughed out loud reading this post and only because I’ve experienced the same thing with United Healthcare. Nice to know I’m not completely alone in dealing with incompetent automated telephone systems and humans!

On May 25th, 2010, San Diego Momma » Blog Archive » Here We Go Again said:

[…] Remember this? […]

On June 22nd, 2010, joe g said:

BCBS, so far, has forced me to speak with 6 different people to cancel my policy. And because it’s taken so long, to ask for the refund for last month we deserve, we have to send a letter into either a black hole mailbox or fax machine. No way to make sure that it’s been received or processed. Love that. Someday I’m going to run a big company where the people that actually deal with the customers make all the money so they do it right. And the managers all make $24,000 a year.

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