Caught in the Web

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One of the benefits I had from my company was the ability to continue my current health care coverage with a discount based on my years of service. I have to pay full time to cover my wife but since she’s self employed, it beats the alternatives.

Everything was going great at first. I’d write the check, send it in and life was golden. Then, I saw an opportunity to do direct withdrawal from my checking account. I’m not a big fan of places having hooks into my account but this made some sense. It would be nice to just not have to worry about it and have it done automatically in the background.

Yeah, except there was a small glitch in the system. The premium is due on the first of each month. Due to some reasons that didn’t make much sense but are the rules, they continuation company only pulls on the 5th of the month for people who used to work for the place I worked for.

You see the problem. The 5th is after the 1st. So the first month I tried this, I logged in on the first and saw an “OVERDUE” on the main page. Called them right away and was assured that there was a grace period and it wasn’t a problem.

Well except that it was. See, when the insurance company saw that I was ‘OVERDUE’, they immediately started denying claims. I found this out a couple of weeks after when my first claim was denied. The note said I was being denied because I was late paying the premium. It even said that If I’d paid my premium, then I didn’t have to worry. Which I figured was fine because, by that time, they had pulled the money and I wasn’t OVERDUE anymore more.

Except that it wasn’t fine because the insurance company just kept happily denying claims. I got an notice about my recent visit from them and checked and they had denied the claim for the same reason. The notice said my claim had been processed – you had to log in to see that by processed they really meant denied.

Another call to the continuation service who said they would take care of it right away. I guess there is some flag they have to send to the insurance company to let them know that all is good in the world and maybe it didn’t get sent or it got lost in the shuffle. Or it could be any number of other reasons that the bureaucratic wheels of the two companies didn’t mesh.

It got me to thinking because the insurance company certainly knew when to act when I was OVERDUE. But clearing that seems to take extra work. Then I realized that if the insurance company has to pay claims, it costs them money. If they deny claims, then life is good for them. So naturally, they would make it easier to remove me from coverage than to add me back in.

So now I wait to see if they are able to work magic and get me covered again even though I’ve already PAID for the insurance. I suppose I could have ranted on the phone to the poor lady from the continuation service but I figure she probably gets that enough and, really, it isn’t her fault that the corporate wheels turn slowly.

But that’s how my day started.

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