Kaiser Permanente Fail?

Hearing how reasonable the new healthcare act was making the required insurance, I did my “patriotic duty” and went on-line to get health insurance for my spouse and yours truly.

Healthcare.gov had some major glitches at that time (December 2013) so I went to eHealth.com to choose our health insurance.

I was so stunned when I saw the price I still cannot believe I pressed the button to start a policy. I chose Kaiser Permanente and they wanted (are you sitting down?) $872.00 every month and that was only a bronze plan with an over $5000 deductible!

872 times 12 is 10,464 then add 5000 and you get 15,464 bucks I pay every year pretty much before I get any serious healthcare benefit. Guess what? I am really just self-insured barring catastrophe.

But this story gets worse, a hell of a lot worse! After just over one week we decided we would see if there was anything more reasonable and chose to cancel that application for health insurance. This was about two weeks before we were accepted. January 22 we faxed the cancellation into the eHealth.com website where we applied as they instructed.

Two weeks after we cancelled, we got notification that we were accepted (not cancelled)! And yes it even gets worse. Just before we were accepted we find out Kaiser Permanente claims to have never gotten the cancellation fax eHealth.com claims to have sent them so Kaiser asks for a cancellation fax be sent to them at a specific phone number.

I faxed Kaiser Permanente that morning and called to verify they got it.

They claimed they never got our cancellation fax so I faxed them the same cancellation fax again to the same phone number they gave me and included all the necessary data they required (both times). This time I faxed the cancellation request twice, figuring they could not possibly lose both of them!

Third time (or fourth if they lost the first of the two) is the charm! Kaiser actually admitted that they received this third attempt (or fourth) to cancel. This was February 3rd I believe and we were told our Kaiser Healthcare policy was being cancelled. A few days later our acceptance letter comes from Kaiser!

We called back and waited on hold for 37 minutes to find out no progress had been made. Two weeks later we call back each time waiting on hold for over thirty minutes and still no progress.

We got our welcome to Kaiser Healthcare package in the mail and a week later we got our Kaiser Healthcare cards! Several days after that we got a complete second set of cards. No wonder the premiums are so high when cancelled members get three major mailings.

The capper for me was Kaiser actually sent me a March invoice requesting my second payment!

What kind of a computer system are they running? A Commodore 64? An Atari 5200? A Raspberry PI?

I think my home computer could have completed my cancellation request in half the time even with their current load, I’m just saying..

It was a full six weeks later and another 37 minute call (on hold) that I got my first indication that our policy had actually been cancelled!

The pleasant agent asked me to hold so she could arrange getting our 872 Dollar check sent out that very day! After another 35 minute hold session, she apologized and said the department was so overloaded that they would apply the 872 Dollars to our credit card in several weeks (or sooner).

“Sooner” is running at 20 to 1 odds if you want to take that, but I wouldn’t. As of the writing of this article still no money back.

I almost get sick when I see a Kaiser Permanente commercial running on TV.

How can they possibly want more customers when they are so over-loaded that their current systems are in total disarray, departments cannot even communicate with neighboring departments, faxes are lost, customers are waiting well over 30 minutes to just speak to someone.

Lord O’ Mighty, what if I had to make a claim? What if a life hung in the balance and a healthcare decision was needed immediately?

Kaiser Permanente has a responsibility to their (members?), (customers?), those human beings that depend upon them to be there when needed. If greed or board members or CEO’s push for more policies than Kaiser Permanente can quickly and efficiently handle a dangerous and potentially deadly condition can erupt.

How much is too much? I think unless Kaiser Permanente re-vamps there apparently antiquated system of tracking customer policies, they have already passed the line.

UPDATE: May 21, 2014 and still no 872 Dollars back from Kaiser Permanente. Should we demand interest? Our money has been with them for for well over a quarter of a year now!
We have spent way over ten hours on the phone with Kaiser Permanente agents being told a myriad of conflicting stories and the only true ones were stating our money was a long way off and not coming back soon! The promises that it was already mailed, or being applied to our bank account or someone would call us back with an answer were all false. Only two of five promised call-backs ever occurred and they only could say they had no answer or definite time that our 872 Dollars would be returned.

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