DQuinn.net

Freelance

Inside the MA Health Connector’s Broken Call Centers

This post originally appeared on Yelp. If you like my reviews, follow me for more snarky points of view.

Update: The Health Connector changed its secret Urgent Care Services phone line to 844.558.3454. You’re welcome.

I give you the ongoing trials and tribulations of one man’s struggle against the inimical monolith of public-sector despair that is the MA Health Connector!

Let me start by getting a few things out of the way:

  • I like paying my taxes;
  • I’d gladly pay more taxes to support a single-payer healthcare system;
  • I like bureaucracy and big government and citizen welfare;
  • I voted for the President who put the Affordable Health Care Act into practice;
  • I have called the Health Connector 25 32 times and my insurer 7 times and counting, and my health insurance is STILL a mess.

The MA Health Connector is an administrative abomination. If ANYTHING goes awry in your application process, or anything is slightly out of the norm, you’re in for a ride. Here’s the gist of what’s wrong with this organization:

  • The Health Connector routes its calls to call centers all over the country, meaning trying to talk to the same person about your case is like playing Russian roulette without bullets in a padded room because you’re not allowed to even shoot yourself in the face. CSRs at the Connector do indeed have ID numbers assigned to them, but good luck trying to find someone you talked to in the past. They refuse to transfer calls (even though they can find fellow employees, even across call centers), they won’t do conference calls, and they can’t provide confirmation numbers for anything they do. In short: it is impossible to hold a CSR accountable for anything they promise over the phone.
  • The Health Connector’s staff are, on the average, jaded and lacking in compassion. Actually, they remind me a lot of Donald Trump: they eschew facts for bald-faced lies about the organization’s policies whenever dealing with the truth becomes inconvenient. I don’t blame these CSRs entirely: I once worked as dispatcher at AAA, so I know what it’s like to do thankless work and get irate calls all day. However, if I screwed up as many cases as the Health Connector’s crew has screwed up in my tenure at AAA, at least AAA would have the good sense to fire me. On Yelp I see the names of CSRs who are still working there, even after having also screwed up my account months and months later. The Health Connector is so poorly managed that it handcuffs its staff through lack of training, technology, and escalation, and we the people get to deal with the fallout.
  • The Health Connector tracks status information by entering things into a spreadsheet that gets passed along for processing in order of the entry of rows of instruction. Let me repeat: this is done in a spreadsheet. By hand. I learned this from a supervisor after a great deal of painstaking interrogation. Meaning that at no time can any CSR actually know the status of your account. It is like “the stack” in Magic the Gathering, except you are a blind person and your opponent is a doorknob. Let me further illustrate the insanity of tracking the status of a case in a spreadsheet that you pass back and forth between departments: If one line of the spreadsheet instructs, “Invade Poland,” and 670 lines of Greek poetry follow before a contradictory instruction to “Not Invade Poland,” Poland will be burned to the ground before anyone realizes. This is the single most ridiculous flaw in the Health Connector’s entire system, and it’s a miracle that they haven’t killed thousands of people already by preventing them from getting affordable access to medical services.
  • The “Billing Department” is a shadow organization within the Health Connector, more secretive and inaccessible than I daresay the Syndicate in the X-Files. Proclamations will come from the Billing Department in one of two ways: mysterious, inexplicably wrong balances sent by mail and usually out of date by a few weeks, or oracular pronouncements enunciated by the lips of mere mortal CSRs who can do nothing else except obey.
  • No matter how many times you call into the center, you will always have to reiterate your name, phone number, address, email, and social security number to begin discussing your problem. A mild annoyance, perhaps, until your 25th time doing so.
  • The complex, branching voice menu system that deposits you into Connector’s Sisyphean den of torments is useless and will only ever lead you astray or keep you on hold for 20 to 40 minutes. Always, always choose the option that’s phrased as “I have questions about my premium bill.” Currently this is 4, then 1. Because this involves money, it will get you a CSR almost immediately. All the CSRs solve all the same problems, so it makes no difference who you speak to. In fact, you could probably speak to your therapist and get your problems solved faster.
  • The distinction between “supervisor” and “CSR” is a slim one at best: the only difference seems to be that supervisors are slightly more knowledgeable than their counterparts, kind of like what the Uruk-hai are to the Orcs in Lord of the Rings. The moment a CSR becomes combatative or demonstrates his/her ineptitude, it is advisable to demand a supervisor and threaten to just wait forever on the phone until one becomes available.
  • Be aware, however, that there are no secret doors beyond the supervisors. These class of managers, beleaguered and apologetic at best, have no power to speak to the Great and Powerful Billing Department, nor to make any changes to your account. Think of them as dimwitted mice in a laboratory experiment forced to push tiny objects into a chute so that they can feed themselves. Except that the tiny objects—your pleas for help—fall uselessly into Mount Doom whilst the dark lords within the Great and Powerful Billing Department laugh mercilessly at your misfortune from atop Barad-dûr.

And so begins my journey into the Health Connector, one April evening after having left my post at a publishing company in a hurry, to become a freelancer full-time. I was young then, full of aspirations and hopes, eager-eyed with long locks of scarlet hair and all the women in Hobbiton thought I was a catch. But anyway:

April 24. Like a good little hobbit I buy my overpriced health and dental plan from the public exchange on April 24, 2015, shortly after the “enrollment deadline”—the first and worst mistake I can make. Word to the wise, my friends: always end your employment when it is convenient for the government, or else there will be dragons. In any event, ending one’s employment is a “qualifying event” to purchase health insurance, the only problem is that if you buy between months, it doesn’t start until the next month. So by buying in after April 23, my “effective date” is June 2015. However, I need medicines in May, so the helpful CSRs at Neighborhood Health Plan (kind of like the elves of Rivendale) tell me that I can put in a “retro-request” with the Connector to move my effective date to May.

May 6. I call into the Connector to have my effective date retroactively moved from June to May, so that I can pick up prescriptions during the month of May and go to previously scheduled doctors appointments. This first call takes two hours of speaking with several different Health Connector automatons, one of whom tells me it is impossible to receive a confirmation number or written proof of the retro-request, that the whole process can take up to 60 days, and that I must call back in two weeks to check on the status of the transaction. I call back again on May 8, May 12, and May 13 to get to the bottom of how long it really takes, and get varying explanations from different CSRs.

May 15. Little do I know, but a CSR leaves notes that there is no “qualifying reason” for my request, and so it is quietly canceled. This I will learn from a call on August 24 when I force a CSR to read me the entire record on the account.

May 18. I call back to check in on my friends at Mordor. I am told that the previous CSR I spoke with hadn’t indicated the “reason” for the retro-request in “the notes” and so it was rejected by their “processing department.” Curious facts, I think! For not only was my retro-request filled AND denied in less than 10 days, but it was done so with the added benefit of REMOVING information from the case! So, after speaking with a supervisor, I am told that while it will take up to 60 days to process from today, I can go ahead with my appointments anyway as the coverage will be retroactively valid once everything gets sorted out. She is again unable to provide me with either a confirmation number or written proof that the retro-request is filed, and I leave the call with the comfort of knowing nothing definitive.

May 19. I call the elves at Neighborhood Health plan to verify this bit of lore espoused by the Health Connector, but my insurer sagely assures me that it will charge the hell out of me if I decide to go to my appointments or pick up prescriptions during that limbo of 60 days when my “effective date” is up in the air. I instruct the insurer to make a note in my account that I do not want my effective date moved. The elves, being carefree creatures of nonconformity, toss my note out the window.

That same day, I gather a small army of wits and call back Mordor to cancel the retro-request, sternly and with lots of halberds. The CSR explains that she was canceling the retro-request, “effective immediately.” Again, I request proof, but the CSR insists that the proof is in the pudding, and I cannot have any. I lost this battle, I realize, but perhaps not the war. I cancel my doctors appointments and am forced to wait to pick up my prescriptions in June.

June 12. I receive five bills from the Health Connector, all postmarked on the same day, each with different amounts due, to my tearful glee and consternation:

Dated 06/01/2015 for “Coverage Month” Jul 2015, $34.64 due by 6/23/2015
Dated 06/01/2015 for “Coverage Month” Jun 2015, $0.00 due by 6/23/2015
Dated 06/01/2015 for “Coverage Month” Jul 2015, $670.10 due by 6/23/2015
Dated 06/01/2015 for “Coverage Month” May 2015, $0.00 due by 6/23/2015
Dated 06/01/2015 for “Coverage Month” Jun 2015, $335.05 due by 6/23/2015

Perplexed by these bills, I call Mordor that very same day to demand some answers. The CSR, surprisingly whimsical and friendly this time (I suppose she is a goblin, they are not really so bad once you get to know them), explains that my request from May 19 to cancel the retro-request was never processed, because the previous CSR failed to submit it to the “Billing Department.” A chill goes down our spines, because to forsake the will of the Billing Department is to forsake life itself, we know. As a result, the May 8 retro-request was approved, moving my effective date from June to May. Hallelujah, I thought, for now I can claim benefits from my plan after I finish building my time machine! Weary of the Health Connector charging me for May automatically through my EFT account with them, I ask my goblin friend to process an “EFT cancellation request” and submit another retro-request to move my effective date back from May to June. Together, we collude to pay for my next month’s insurance by check, that way I’d still maintain coverage while all of this is going down. “Two days,” she says, “and we will be forever free of Mordor’s tyranny!” and we go off into the sunset together.

June 23. The Health Connector withdraws money for May and June anyway, on top of the check I mail to them manually. This totals in a whopping three months of health insurance and one month of dental insurance: $1005.15 and $34.64. All coming out of my bank account at the same damned time.

June 29. Deeply saddened by the Dark Lord’s betrayal, I call to inquire about the Health Connector’s vicious pillaging of my bank account. The CSR, fearful of Sauron’s rage, hangs up on me during an extended hold (this is notated as “N/A” in the Health Connector’s record for that day), and the second one I speak to explains that the EFT cancellation request I made on June 12 was never actually filed, but that the effective date of my plan had since been moved back to June. He also insists that the EFT cancellation request will actually take 30 days to process (a falsehood! But who can know, really?), and refuses to allow me to speak to a supervisor by lying that there are none available. He says he will file a “refund request” for the amounts indicated and file another EFT cancellation request: also a lie! Ah, but at least the Health Connector is consistent in its inability to tell the truth, ever.

July 8. I call to check in. I’d text, but you know we’ve gotten so close now, I think it rude not to call. Determined to gather evidence for a dispute I am about to open against the Health Connector through my bank for the stolen two months of funds, I grill a CSR named Tanesa about the time it takes to process an EFT cancellation: 2 to 3 business days, she says–but like most Health Connector-related “facts,” this cannot be substantiated with any physical documentation, except the sound of her monotone voice reading it aloud from her computer screen. My quest for evidence leads me to a supervisor named Michelle, who in turn admits that the second EFT cancellation request I filed took effect on June 30, and confirms that the original EFT cancellation was not filed because of the Health Connector’s mistake, meaning that the Health Connector wasn’t authorized to break my bank. So with little faith that the Connector will refund me what they stole, I proceed to open a dispute through my bank.

Bankers: They may be evil incarnate, but they do see reason! By mid-July, the bank gives me back my money and rules against the Health Connector. Are the bankers dwarves, or men? I cannot say, for the metaphor is getting spread too thin. But now the Connector owes me nothing, and I think myself free for a time. I send a check to get coverage for August on July 24 with the dim hope that perhaps everything will finally be in order.

July 13. Alas: I receive a fascinating bill instructing me that I am past due a month, and that my insurance is soon to be canceled. Impossible! I say to myself, but the Health Connector itself is a feat in Kafkaesque impossibility. A random CSR answers the phone and says she will send another “note” to the Billing Department, as she can see nothing wrong with my account. Nothing wrong. Nothing wrong.

August 18. I need some medicine. So far I have not used my insurance for anything, I am just sending the government money, for no reason really when it comes down to it, gambling every month in an absurd game against my destiny. I decide to pick this medicine up at the local CVS, and learn that my insurance has been rendered “inactive.” I am refused the medicine unless I pay full-price ($400 for something that costs $25 with insurance). I feel like the hobbits returning to the Shire after it has been taken over by the dark wizard Saruman. That same day, I receive another fascinating bill that declares I owe (negative?!) -$300.41 for my dental plan (a plan that costs $34 a month, mind you), and $1005.15 for my health–an account for which I was overcharged nearly $700 but a month before. Fascinating. Does the Billing Department practice its own non-Euclidean mathematics, unknown to all but the fetid worshippers of Cthulhu? Knowing that I owe nothing to the Connector except an upcoming payment in August and a swift kick in the face, I call Mordor to begin my investigation. The CSR explains that likely the Billing Department applied my payment from July 24 to my dental insurance, because they need to have monies deposited to them in two separate checks, on a silver platter, delivered with the seal of the king in a golden envelope, at the third hour of the blood moon. She also says she can do nothing about the maniacal balance her overlords have cooked up except to “put in a request to billing” again.

Undeterred by her uselessness, I sit on the sidewalk that same day in an attempt to reach Michelle, who like Galadriel may possess the tools I need to defeat the dark lord. Of course, because the Health Connector routes each call to a random call-center-kingdom anywhere in the country, I must first find where she may be hiding. I reach a CSR named “Creal” who promises to send Michelle a message to call me back. I am not hopeful.

August 18, 4pm. Michelle calls me back, but I fail to pick up the phone in time. Despair! It is like the Ring falling out of one’s fingertips into a dark pool! I call back the next hour, but the number she leaves in my voicemail leads to the black hole of the Connector’s main line. I encounter a combatative CSR named Lucesha, who insists it is impossible to reach Michelle and won’t listen to me, so I immediately escalate to a supervisor. The supervisor, a rather congenial man whose name escapes me, gets up to date on the Billing Department’s mysterious math, and he discovers a note from Michelle: the Billing Department still hasn’t reset the effective date of my plan back to June (despite the “confirmation” offered to me on June 29 by yet another know-nothing CSR), so they think I owe them the month of May. May! A month I spent nearly 8 hours on the phone over several days trying to get coverage! This supervisor is sympathetic, which only raises my suspicions further. He says he will put in “a note” to my insurance to take off the hold while billing sorts itself out, and promises that Michelle will call me back up to 3 times in the next few days. I do not hold my breath.

August 19. I call my elvish insurer in search of sanity. Nothing has changed: Neighborhood Health Plan spoke to the Billing Department, but the Billing Department still thinks I owe them $670 dollars. I insist that the insurer call the Health Connector and get the latest information. By sheer luck, I reach a call center in the Health Connector that actually physically contains the elusive Michelle: a lowly CSR relays messages to her across the vast gulf of space and time, and there is a commitment to call me back by 4pm on the same day. Such expedience is beyond comprehension for the Health Connector.

And so we reach the present moment, People of Yelp. At 4pm on August 19th, I speak to Michelle, who tells me the most confounding detail of my story yet: on May 8, when I first requested the retro-request that would move my effective date from June to May, it actually took only three days to approve my request, despite a MONTH of the Health Connector informing me, by way of no less than five different CSRs and three supervisors, that it would take 60 days to alter my plan. What does this reveal? Either that the Health Connector’s CSRs can never actually know anything about your case in real time, or that they’re all shockingly incompetent. (The real answer is both.) What’s more: the Health Connector refuses to move my effective date back to June and thereby make my insurance active–despite the fact that I have paid in full for my coverage and am required by law to do business with this public exchange–until this powerless supervisor can prove to it that her own CSRs mismanaged my case. So I am effectively forced by the State to pay for insurance I cannot use!

To make sure that we fully grasp the implications of this system:

  • The Health Connector does not and is systematically incapable of providing its customers with evidence or confirmation of anything it does on their behalf, nor access to the notes it takes from call to call, meaning any dispute against you is one in which you, as a customer, cannot participate;
  • Its Billing Department is completely inaccessible to its customers, even though it is the sole decision-maker in the organization;
  • There is nowhere to write to anyone with authority greater than the call center;
  • Supervisors and CSRs can do nothing to alter your account, because they’re at the mercy of the Billing Department.

Imagine if I needed medicine from this system that was actually keeping me alive? Imagine if I didn’t have the luxury of time to make this elaborate account of the Health Connector’s incompetence because I had to keep down two jobs or take care of three children? The fragility of this system represents an enormous risk to the public health of the people who depend on it as the sole (and mandated!) provider of insurance in this state. As a public service, the Health Connector is a disgrace to the Commonwealth, a byzantine, completely opaque system, inured from accountability within and without. I don’t know who we should call, or who we should write to in order to fix this system. But we need to fix it, and fix it fast.

Update, August 20. The ever-faithful Michelle calls back to inform me that “things are moving” and “being processed.” She seems quietly amused by the flatness of my resignation. The unknowable Billing Department has decided to move my effective date back to June, which would make my account current, but these are words, words, words, Lord Polonius! My insurance still remains “inactive,” and I wait. She promises to call me back tomorrow with good news.

Update, August 21. Predictably, nobody calls me back. Neighborhood Health Plan leaves a voicemail noting that they are waiting for the Billing Department at the Mordor to “straighten things out.” I am still paying for zero coverage.

Update, August 24. The twists and turns of this delightful ride down insanity lane continue. Today I receive a call from a supervisor at Neighborhood Health Plan who I have no choice but to abduct and imprison under a hot white light while I interrogate her for about an hour. She informs me that the Billing Department still believes I am delinquent so my coverage is still inactive. The good thing about the insurer in a case like this is that they have documented reference numbers for their calls–extremely helpful in proving the incompetence of the shadow-government Billing Department at the Health Connector. I now have “proof” of when the Connector changed the effective date of my plan: according to an “electronic transaction” received by the insurer, the plan was changed on 5/28/2015: ten days after I instructed the insurer to alert me when/if the Health Connector erroneously tries to move my effective date, according to my documented May 18 phone call. This also disproves my dear friend Michelle’s assertion that the effective date was moved but days after I requested it. Who is misinforming who? It is impossible to tell, really. We also learn a little bit about the insurer’s relationship to Mordor: apparently even the insurer is a puppet of the Billing Department at the Health Connector, as Neighborhood Health Plan’s supervisors communicate with the Connector via email, and have no other recourse. I enter yet another administrative black hole. Close to 5 p.m., while trying to call back into the Health Connector, I receive a call from Michelle, who admits she was overwhelmed with calls and meetings. She promises me yet again that tomorrow everything will be resolved.

Update, August 25. Nothing is resolved. Michelle does not call back. 4:40pm: I speak to another CSR, who immediately claims it is impossible to put me in touch with Michelle. She gets indignant when I insist she’s wrong and that I have achieved the impossible multiple times before. I wait on hold while she asks for a supervisor. The supervisor tells me that her particular call center is incapable of reaching other supervisors in other call centers, and that numerous other customers have complained about this failing. I feel like I am trapped in a Philip K. Dick novel and begin to lose the Lord of the Rings metaphor. I instruct her to leave a note specifically indicating that she was unable to help me because of this technological failing. I then try randomly calling back to see if I can randomly get into the call center where Michelle is physically located. I call six times. It is like the Russian roulette of my nightmares. Of those calls, I get into the Boston and Worchester centers; upon calling for the sixth time, I reach “Lynn” who refuses to tell me where her center is located. Lynn is mysterious, short tempered, like some sort of gremlin without a conscience. She says it’s located in “Rockford” but won’t tell me which state. We’ll call this call center B. I request a supervisor. This supervisor (Ken’shawn, #363) is amused by my distress and says Lynn was not telling the truth and that the call center is located in Boston, and that its physical address is on Portland street. WHO WATCHES THE WATCHMEN, I ask! When I ask him why both Lynn and the supervisor who originally claimed there are 4 calls centers would lie to me, he refuses to answer and actually laughs at me. I request that he note in my account his refusal to provide this information, and his assertion that there are only 2 call centers located in Boston and Worcester. I know he is lying, as I’ve already spoken with CSRs in different call centers who openly admitted their location is Boston and Worcester. I hang up and call again, this time arriving in a call center we’ll call “location C.” The CSR, although helpful in answering my questions, admits that due to policy he can’t reveal his location, but his call center does not contain Ken’shawn or Lynn, which means he’s neither in Boston, Worcester, or Ken’shawn’s magical alternate Boston. He does admit that he’s not located in Massachusetts, and that there are indeed 4 call centers and some of them are not in Massachusetts. At first, this CSR is unable to even find my account (which I find entirely baffling) until I argue with him for a good ten minutes and then he mysteriously finds it in one of his “systems.” He finds no notes from Ken’shawn, which means the supervisor got away with both being abusive and willfully useless, and when I ask the CSR how I can hold Ken’shawn accountable for this, he says there is no way. While he’s sympathetic and confirms my interpretation of my account, he’s naturally unable to do anything except “put in a request to billing.” However, I learn on this call that there is indeed a third level beyond the supervisors at the MA Health Connector: “Heads of Operations.” Each call center, he says, has one, and the supervisors must provide access to one if you specifically request it. His is named “John.” I assume they are like the Mouths of Sauron: elite, inaccessible, but possessive of great power. Apparently, these are bosses who work above the supervisors and take exceptionally fucked up calls. I resolve to try and reach such a beast tomorrow.

August 25. I call into the Health Connector and request to speak to a supervisor. I speak with Christine (#367). I explain my case at length and then request to speak to the Head of Operations. She insists that no such person exists. I am not surprised. You do not just walk into Mordor. She does pull up the notes from the previous CSR from 8/24, and says she doesn’t know what this CSR is talking about. I ask if there is any management above her, and while she admits that she does report to someone, that this person also is unable to help. She explains also that the call center has no phone numbers to communicate with anyone in the outside world, except their internal IT department. According to Christine, she finds a note on my account from 8/21 that explains that the enrollment department is unable to update my effective date back to June because of a “technical limitation” and that despite that the billing department, the call center, and the enrollment department are all in agreement that I am not past due, they have to wait until they can correct the system itself before reactivating my coverage. She confirms I have no recourse. I ask her to document that no Head of Operations exists, that I have no recourse, and that the previous supervisor I spoke to (Ken’shawn) was derisive to me and didn’t leave any notes as I asked him to. She tells me that I should pay for May (the month for which I received no coverage) in order to make the account current, even despite that she agrees I do not owe May, until they correct the “system limitation.” I refuse to do this. She warns me that if I don’t make that payment anyway, they may terminate my coverage.

August 25, Update. I decide to contact the Governor’s Office for Massachusetts, which lists numbers here: http://www.mass.gov/governor/constituent-services/contact-governor-office/. I call this number: 888.870.7770 which gets me in touch with an aide who takes my information and says she will contact someone within the Health Connector. I am told calling the Governor is equivalent to calling the Elves of Rivendell for help. I also send an email to two state representatives as well as the Attorney General’s office, presumably his elfin lieutenants. I then call Neighborhood Health Plan to let them know what I’ve just learned from the Connector about this “system limitation.” The supervisor there isn’t able to get in touch with the last person I spoke with, but says she will follow up. Several hours later, I receive a call from a new department called the “Member Care Specialist Urgent Services” department, which apparently is a hidden department within the Connector. Shrouded in secrecy, this department is like the Rangers, except evil and slightly more useless than its Mordor counterpart. During my 4+ months of trying to resolve these issues, this department has never been mentioned by anyone in the Connector, and it’s not listed anywhere on the Connector website. SECRETS! LIES! After I explain the nature of my problem, the CSR on this end says he will personally handle my case. I do not believe him, obviously. When I ask him about the last call I had with the Connector and this “system limitation” issue, he says “not to worry” and that there is no such limitation. Who is this specter of glorious confidence?? The number I am instructed to call for direct access to reach this department is 844-558-3454.

August 25, Update. Martha at Neighborhood Health Plan follows up. She says the enrollment department has decided to lift the hold on my account while the Connector figures out how to move my effective date back to June, and calls the pharmacy to give approval. I’m finally able to get my medicine. Sauron is felled by the forces within. The dark time has ended, for now…

August 31, Update. I receive a call from the Attorney General of Massachusetts’s office, after having filed a complaint a few days earlier. They refer me to Healthcare for All and its number is 800-272-4232. The Governor’s office, for what it’s worth, operates in a time-dilated crystal, so they are a little bit behind. I have not yet heard back from the “Member Care Specialist Urgent Services” as to whether my billing is straightened out. I call their number and although it sounds like the regular Connector’s number, it immediately sends me to a CSR who asks for a case number. He tells me that my effective date has been moved back to June. He also instructs me that the Connector won’t be aware of what his department is doing. For they operate in the darkness. Above and beyond the will of the all-seeing eye.

October 5, Update. I receive a call from someone within the Connector, who confirms that my effective date has been moved back to June and that everything should be in order now. When I ask for physical proof that this is the case, the CSR tells me all she can give is the regular statement. She smiles darkly, and I smile too, weak and delirious from my journey into the abyss.

So, three months later, case closed. Hope you enjoyed my torments. Feel free to vent your frustrations below.


Health Connector Hell

Massachusetts Health Connector Hell


Post a Comment

Your Two Cents

Reply

Your Comments

48 Replies & Counting

  1. Karen 2 years, 11 months ago

    This is horrible. As someone about to use the Connector for insurance I am now very apprehensive. I hope you are able to get your situation straightened out as quickly as possible!

    • Daniel Quinn 2 years, 11 months ago

      Thanks for your concern Karen. I’m still without insurance. My honest advice is to use your cellphone to record every call you make with them, as there is really no way to hold them accountable for anything they do. And do not under any circumstances use their EFT system. Send all your checks by mail and write the account number for dental/health separately on two different checks. And don’t try to do a retro-request unless you have like 5 months lead time.

  2. Karen 2 years, 11 months ago

    Thank you for the advice! Have you reached out to your representatives as well? I read about your story on Universal Hub; if you have not already done so consider contacting as much local media as possible. Sometimes a TV report can do wonders with making things happen. Good luck!!

    • Daniel Quinn 2 years, 11 months ago

      I’ve sent letters to two State representatives just yesterday.

  3. Jake 2 years, 11 months ago

    What a mess! Thought about contacting the Mass AG? Seems there must be some sort of consumer protection standards being trampled here..

    • Daniel Quinn 2 years, 11 months ago

      Hi Jake, I contacted both the Governor’s office of MA and two state representatives. The Governor’s office took my information and said they’d follow up. I can’t be sure, but either that communication or my latest communication with the insurer must have escalated my case into this new “Member Care Specialist Urgent Services” that was never before an option. It seems that until someone you can’t speak to within the Connector is contacted by someone outside the system, you get stuck with the call center who simply cannot help you in these cases. The number to reach this secret department is 844-558-3454. The fact that this department is hidden from the public is disgusting.

  4. Brian Russell 2 years, 9 months ago

    Daniel, thank you for posting this and sharing your experience. My wife & I are going through a similar ordeal right now, and it is actually strangely comforting to know that we aren’t the only ones! I won’t go into major detail, but we had a marriage and birth of our daughter, and it has created a clusterf*ck of immense proportions like I wouldn’t have dared to imagine. It started 2 months ago, and I am still not insured, and only crossing my fingers that my wife and newborn are actually covered like they say they are. This experience has single handedly caused me to question the government’s role in all aspects of society. Thanks to you though, we have some new avenues to attack this issue of ours, and we can possibly stop this endless cycle of CSR roulette.

    • Daniel Quinn 2 years, 9 months ago

      Hi Brian,

      Sorry to hear you’ve been caught in the Connector’s sad vortex of failure. The key to getting out of the call center is to call 844-558-3454, which is their emergency member services help line. They hide this number from the general public. I was only given this number by someone from within the Connector after my story got picked up and after I contacted the Governor’s office. You should also write to the Governor’s office via their online form: http://www.mass.gov/governor/constituent-services/contact-governor-office/. It seems like a futile effort to do that, but my case was resolved within days of me taking this route and a rep from the office called me to get in touch with people at the Connector. In other words, keep pushing back and harassing them until they get their shit together.

      DQ

  5. s.c. doig 2 years, 9 months ago

    I am so thankful I found you! I have been trying to straighten out my dental insurance. Right now, the Health Connector has $900.00 of my money and I have no dental insurance. I never would have known this if I had not called Altus, the dental insurance co. and they said my dental insurance was cancelled by the Connector in May!! I have literally spent over 100 hours, at least 80 phone calls and yesterday and today added another 5 hours and 4 phone calls. I got a call last evening with a phone # to call. The fellow said the number so quickly I couldn’t understand it. I just found it–thank you Daniel. I wrote to the governor last February with no follow through. I wrote again yesterday and did receive the call last night. Now I am going to call that number. I’m also in the catch-22 situation. I had to send another payment–overnight– yesterday to reinstate my insurance because my last overnight got to them October 28th and it needed to be received by October 23. This has been going on since last November when I began this process with the Connector–absolutely unbelievable. Shameful. Unforgiveable. Let’s see what happens today!!

    • Daniel Quinn 2 years, 9 months ago

      Hi S.C.,

      I’m sorry to hear about the Connector screwing up your account… I was fortunate enough that the medication I get on a regular basis isn’t critical, so I was able to wait them out and refuse to send any more payments. I assume by the number you mentioned, you mean the expedited help line I discovered. They seem to operate outside the HC call centers. Let me know how it goes!

  6. Brian Russell 2 years, 8 months ago

    Daniel, just wanted to let you know that it seems that they *might* have taken that emergency member service number, 844-558-3454, and changed it so it just gets lopped in with the normal health connector call queue. When I call now, I get the same prompts as when calling the published number (877-623-6765).
    To follow up on our previous issues, just when we thought we were finally getting somewhere, after following your advice, come to find out that they got us on our health plan, but now took away our dental plan. And worst of all, on top of that, completely butchered our new daughter’s name in the application that is now submitted for 2015 & 2016, even though it had been correct all along until now.
    This is some serious incompetence.

    • Daniel Quinn 2 years, 7 months ago

      I’m not surprised they’d change the number. The Connector would rather route you to the abyss of helpless CSRs than someplace that can get things done, likely because they’re understaffed and underfunded. Have you tried contacting the governor’s office? I can’t prove a direct connection between having contacted that office and me getting help, but I think that was the case for me.

    • Daniel Quinn 2 years, 3 months ago

      Hi Brian – they changed the number to 844 – 558 – 3454. Just went through another round of billing disputes with them, and the day after I called the governor’s office (again), someone called me from this line to swoop in and solve my problems. Sad that the Connector doesn’t mind letting people languish in their useless customer support until they complain to the state.

  7. Karen Carvalho 2 years, 8 months ago

    I have been through a nightmare situation with the Health Connector. To make a long story short, I issued a check (approx. $665.) to the Health Connector over a year ago, they cashed my check, only to find out I was never issued the insurance that I paid for. I have been trying to get my refund for 10 months. First they stated that they had no record of my check. On 2 separate occasions, I sent them copies of the check & my bank statement. After countless hours of phone calls & unbelievable aggravation, they claim they are closing my case because my refund check was issued by them & cashed by me (twice). I adamantly stated to them that I never received either of these checks & demand to see a copy of these alleged checks. They refuse to do this (because they never existed)!! No one there is accountable & you can never speak to anyone in the Billing Dep’t. I believe they hope you get so disgusted with calling that you will forfeit the money you’re due. Yesterday I contacted one of my local TV news stations in hopes that they will launch an investigation into the Health Connector. I need my money, plus I’d like to help prevent other victims from experiencing this scam.

    • Daniel Quinn 2 years, 7 months ago

      The difficulty in your case is that you sent them a check. I assume this was an ordinary check that would come out of your bank account? When I had set up EFT transfer with the Connector, I was able to dispute the amounts they withdrew erroneously through my bank, which resulted in my being refunded by the bank and the Connector getting a stop payment because I was able to prove that they weren’t authorized to withdraw via EFT during the time period they withdrew.

      I don’t know the banking specifics in your case, especially since it happened 10 months ago, but try to see what steps you can take through the bank to dispute the cashed check. At this point, you absolutely need to contact the governor’s office. It’s my suspicion that the people there have a special line to the Connector that gets cases that are severely fucked up noticed by their emergency hotline.

  8. Fiona 2 years, 7 months ago

    Oh my god. This is so similar to my experience. Why isn’t this making the news? Why aren’t more folks (like me) advocating for a total overhaul of these horrifically inept call centers? This is the worst bureaucratic experience of my adult life. It’s taken hours out of my productivity at work and likely minutes off my life.

    • Daniel Quinn 2 years, 7 months ago

      Welcome to the club, Fiona.

  9. Connector Non Fan 2 years, 6 months ago

    Try this trick. Tell them you are at the Emergency Room and you need your Member ID. They will call a Billing supervisor straight away and stay on the line while they try and get in touch with

  10. Steve Garfield 2 years, 3 months ago

    Hi Daniel,
    My nightmare started when my COBRA coverage ended. Like you, I was prompt in my payments, them my nightmare began.

    The call centers might have good response times when answering calls, but the operators know nothing, can’t help, don’t follow up, don’t care, don’t take ownership, and can’t talk to the billing department.

    It’s really a joke.

    A sad joke.

    After being terminated once and wanted of termination this month, it dawned on me that there’s not way to log in to get a status of your payments.

    There’s no way to log in to get a record of your payments.

    I dread calling in to see if my recent payment made it over to them.

    Thanks for sharing your story. Mine is similar as are all the stories I’ve heard on my Facebook page from friends who have GIVEN UP and gotten insurance elsewhere.

    • Daniel Quinn 2 years, 3 months ago

      Sorry to hear that you felt my pain there!

      I need to write a follow up to this post, describing how to fight the good fight against the Connector, when you get caught in their call center hell. There is a surefire way out, but it involves working around their call center, which most people would never imagine is the way! The key problem with them is that if ANYTHING is slightly different than the normal protocol, their billing department WILL screw up your enrollment. As I was writing to Lisa Johnson (a commenter below), you have to reach out to the governor’s constituent services department in order to put pressure on the billing department get yourself elevated to their “Urgent Care Services” line.

      Also, another tip: Never sign up for autopay with them. That’s how I got overbilled nearly $900 during my first ordeal. I only write checks to them via autopay in my bank, that way I can cancel or reverse them at any time.

  11. Steve Garfield 2 years, 3 months ago

    I also am offended by the call center operator’s power trips when they are “derisive” and tell you that you’d better pay or “YOU WON”T HAVE INSURANCE!”

    You nailed this experience.

    • Daniel Quinn 2 years, 3 months ago

      Honestly, I think, it’s because they feel helpless, so they take it out on us. Most of the reps I’ve encountered on the main line don’t know what to do in any situation is out of the norm for what they usually process. Not an excuse for them, of course, but more reason for the people in charge of the Connector to train them properly!

  12. Lisa Johnson 2 years, 3 months ago

    I saw Steve’s post on Facebook and had a nearly identical experience to yours. We got lucky, I found a job with health insurance, it was for less money than I was making before but hey … health insurance. And the state has eaten a bit more than $1,000 of my money and the health insurer NEVER received the money … so where did it go? Who got to spend my $1,000? No one knows … I actually think it’s a scam, they purposely lose the first month of insurance but make you keep paying from fear of catastrophic illness or injury. I think it’s a systematic attempt to skim the first month’s payment …

    • Daniel Quinn 2 years, 3 months ago

      Sorry to hear you too got swallowed by the beast. This year, unsurprisingly, I had ANOTHER three-months long battle with the Connector that surfaced in March, where they had enrolled me in the wrong plan and then were demanding the difference in cost between what I signed up for and what they decided I signed up for. The best process for getting around their call center is to open a case with a supervisor at your insurer (not the Connector) and demand that they communicate with the Connector’s billing department, which they can only do by email. Then, call the governor’s constituent services office: http://www.mass.gov/governor/constituent-services/ and request that your case be reviewed because the Connector isn’t giving you insurance you paid for. In a matter of days, I got access to the Connector’s secret “Urgent Care Services” line (a number I posted here, but that they changed last year) and my case was resolved. Needless to say, I too finally got health insurance through my significant other’s employer recently, so I can avoid the Connector for now. The trick to dealing with them is to be relentless and to put pressure on their idiotic billing department via the State.

  13. Elhojo Detumai 2 years, 1 month ago

    Hi Daniel,

  14. Eddy 1 year, 9 months ago

    I typed my frustrations about the health connector into google and saw this. I am so mad and even more pissed off there is NO one that can help you, AT ALL. I had a late payment, but was told, pay it by the 4th and you are fine, Yeah, they lapsed my coverage, so I made TWO more payments on Friday, which cover me for October and November, but noooooooooo I need to also make the payment due on the 23rd as well, to be reinstated … WOW … and it took sooo many days of the same levels of frustration that you went through, and to think at the beginning, I had an easy experience, pay on the 23rd, boom all set … now I had to learn first had how unbelievably stupid, and unhelpful the call center is. Actually, nothing can help you, only paying months ahead .. and to anyone else, just pay a month ahead, because otherwise you will break stuff and want to kill everything, and you couldn’t even track down and office to go to, if there were, I would take a shit on the floor there. I hate whoever can’t get supervisors and people who can actually help, fuck you all at the health connector. FUCK YOU ALLL!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Sorry but the language was so necessary. SMH

  15. Eddy 1 year, 9 months ago

    Really?? Thank You so much, I need something to work for me here, you know the feeling, and went through it for much much longer than I did, but I’m constantly worrying about it, and how I have to pay them asap for another payment, I will follow that link, thank you so much.

  16. Eddu 1 year, 9 months ago

    I sent and email to that office you sent me the link for, they responded to me with the number to call. I called and told a woman my story, and she said she would contact them, and someone will be back in touch with me. Should I expect them to be really call me back soon? Because the health connector being so awful, I told her I paid to be covered through the end of this month and they are demanding this months payment, so I needed to know so I can stop worrying about it.

    • Daniel Quinn 1 year, 9 months ago

      Hi Eddy,

      In my case they really do follow up. The constituent services office gets in contact with someone above the call center, and then you’ll get a call back from the Connector’s secret “Urgent Care Services” line.

      Don’t pay the Connector any more money. Wait until the constituent services people straighten things out with the Connector. In my story above they threatened me in the same way and I refused to pay. Eventually it was all sorted out.

      DQ

  17. edie 1 year, 1 month ago

    I started my application through the Health Connector in late November of 2016. I was born in MA, spent most of my life here, and have lived in MA for the since graduating college 3 years ago. Despite providing my social security number and the requisite information, I kept getting a message stating that my identity could not be verified, and that I would need to fax a copy of my license to them in order to register & purchase insurance. (This whole fiasco could have been avoided if the HC website had a “upload document” option, but of course their stone age UI doesn’t allow it.) I faxed a copy, kept the confirmation number, and waited for a response. I called them 2-3 times, asking whether they’d received and processed the fax, and they told me not to worry.

    Lo and behold, January 1st rolls around and I have no health insurance because my identity proofing was “lost” in the Health Connector’s black hole. I spent 2 hours on the phone every single day for a whole week with 10+ CSRs trying to figure out what the hell happened. One of them finally let it slip that their fax machines were down at some point in November/December. It’s mind-boggling to think about how many important documents may have disappeared in that span of time (I believe the CSR said they were out for one, possibly two weeks? The irresponsibility of that fact amazes me.) After that call, I immediately left work to go to the Health Connector center in Boston, where they got me signed up for coverage beginning in February. They weren’t, however, able to do anything about my lack of January coverage, as it was already Jan 11th.

    Like many people, I have a medical condition that requires a consistent set of prescriptions…and I wasn’t going to make it till the end of the month without needing to refill. I spent countless hours calling CSRs at Health Connector and my new Tufts plan, but it seemed like there was no communication between the two, and absolutely no accountability on HC’s side. I was told to visit a MassHealth center to explain the problem and try to get someone to write me an RX for the month. The list of community health centers is a PDF on the MassHealth website. I went to 3 different locations listed on the PDF, and they were either completely deserted or non-existent. Evidently that godforsaken PDF hadn’t been updated in a long, long while.

    I started having withdrawal symptoms from my medications, and it was clear that HC & Tufts weren’t going to come through in time. Faced with the dangerous implications of abruptly stopping my meds, I ended up shelling out $700 for my RXs to get me through to February 1st. Health Connector said that in order to get reimbursed for the out-of-pocket costs, I would have to pay a premium for both January AND February, and they would make sure it got backdated to set my start date on the record as January 1st. After filling out and mailing the paper retro form twice in a row, I finally received a reimbursement check for my prescriptions. The check was for $200. Essentially, I was forced to submit a $230 premium for insurance I didn’t have in January as well as $700 in out-of-pocket costs for my meds…to get $200 back??

    I was considering whether to cut my losses and give up or keep fighting through the bureaucracy of customer service reps to try to get my money back. I’ve taken countless hours out of my workday to try to sort this out, and I know that if I give up I’ll be kvetching and seething till the end of time. I’m extremely fortunate to have had good healthcare for most of my life. I actually really like the PCP & nurse practitioner I have through Tufts, I just wish it hadn’t been such a shitshow getting in the door. Given some of the horror stories I’ve read in the comments—I’m quite lucky: I’m young, employed, and I have no dependents with chronic health issues. I have the time and the means to raise hell, so I feel like I should, now that I have some perspective and a game plan for who to call. Thanks for this article!

    • Daniel Quinn 1 year, 1 month ago

      Hi Edie, thanks for your story.

      You may be the first person I’ve heard of to actually get reimbursed any amount by the Health Connector after going through their typical Kafkaesque paperwork trail!

      Don’t give up on getting back your full refund. If you were able to get the HC to recognize you had a premium in January, and you know your prescription under that plan doesn’t cost what you paid out of pocket, you can still fight to have the rest reimbursed. I’ve had cases where they “mistakenly” misclassify my drugs as “premium” when in fact they’re generic, and have spent hours forcing them to recognize the correct classification so I don’t end up paying a fortune for what normally costs $5 – $15.

      Call the insurer and have them verify the true cost of the drug under the plan you were backdated for in January. See if they can mail a confirmation of the drug’s status, Then call the Governor’s office and explain that you have documentation that you were overcharged and want their help in forcing the Health Connector to reimburse you for the amount you overpaid.

      Don’t give up!

  18. Jake Boland 10 months, 1 week ago

    my gf has a serious auto-immune disease and has bee dealing with the exact same kind of bs. if you call often enough you can get through to a real compassionate decent human being once in a while instead of the walking piles of garbage–one example is a woman named Laquisha who lies and lies and lies and will hang up on you. we were cursed enough to come across her twice. if you ever get her, hang up and call again to ge someone else, it’s worth your 5 minutes of going through the call prompts again.

    • Daniel Quinn 9 months, 2 weeks ago

      Hi Jake, sorry I didn’t notice your post. Thanks for adding your story. I too have encountered specific terrible agents who seem to thrive in the Health Connector. I hope your girlfriend gets the care she needs despite their incompetence.

  19. Eileen Charter 7 months, 2 weeks ago

    Hi:For over a year,I have gone thru same process but have not made any headway.Finally got Maureen at Ombudsman Office at Health Connector- over 2 wks ago. Her fax # 1-617-449-3794. Since I have documented every call,action & letter for about a year, I spent 1 week translating it all into 4 separate faxed pdfs with a total of over 70 pages.Names, dates, what was promised, all the lies & rudeness-minute by minute account & what color underwear they had on.I know it’s the holidays but it has been 10 days since I faxed that.No call back. I have called the AG-who also referred me to Healthcare for All but after they listened to my story said that they are a non -profit & have reached their quota.If an opening will contact.Sure. AG contact -Lisa also urged me to contact HC’s ombudsman which I did. Lisa at AG also said to call back if I did not get anywhere.I have placed a call into AG but nothing yet.I know “the holidays.” I did call the Gov office of constituents but have played phone tag with them after telling one person my 3 sentence saga. (I took your keep it brief advice.)I know the holidays.My details:A promised but then denied reinstatement of coverage for Oct/Nov/Dec 2016 & Jan & Feb for 2017. We paid all the monies as requested & ended up with a credit of over $1k. Then got bills every month showing the credit being applied. Then July & August we got cancelled for non payment.I managed somehow to get get someone from HC to send me an accounting when CSR said there were 2 accounts created.When I pointed this out to Maureen/Ombudsman Office she did not know anything about it.Her excuses range from: “I just got the account.Oh I have to research it.Oh I have to show it to my supervisors.Oh I have to rework the account from the beginning.Oh I just don’t know what happened.”I too have spoken to CSR’s you did but I have totally different spellings of names.Often I had toask 3 times & have them spell it.Also called once & refused my info until I got a supervisor.CSR put me on hold & when she returned she spoke to me by name.SO they obviously have some way of identifying who calls.Many CSR’s would just repeat same info over & over again.Or ask me same ? 3 times.Have been hung up on several times. Don’t waste your time with Maria at Ombudsmans office. She will do everything she can to stall & thwart you from speaking to Maureen.When you call Ombudsman line, there is an option to input extension # of who you are calling-when I asked Maureen for her ext-she claimed she didn’t have one. “I don’t know why they have that.” She went on about how they were getting a new phone system.The day before she told me that they just got a new one -that was the cause of the echo -which I was annoyed with every time I said anything.They can’t keep their lies straight.I am preparing letters/copies of my stuff to every one I can think of: Sen. Warren, Rep Keating,Rep Fernandes, Hank P. Ryan, etc. I am pretty upset. The real kicker is after NHP authorized & PAID my knee surgery (no pun intended) & related services in July & August-they then went back & denied them all in November. Am now getting calls & letters from providers demanding payment. This has become like a part time job with no payoff. This is just a small sampling of what has been happening.Thanks for”listening” & any suggestions?

    • Daniel Quinn 7 months, 1 week ago

      Wow, this is incredible. Of course, I’m not surprised that it’s gotten this ridiculous for you.

      Here’s a thought: have you tried appearing in person at the HC office in Boston, or at the AG’s office? If I were in your shoes, I’d request an appointment in person from either office, and if they give you the run around, I would appear in person until someone sat down and had a conversation with me. I think it’s too easy at this point for each idiot down the line to blame the one before them by playing phone tag, but it will be difficult to ignore you if you’re physically in front of them.

    • Eileen Charter 7 months, 1 week ago

      Hi Thx Daniel. I happen to live on the Vineyard.The in person thing would cost me a $100 ferry ride plus gas plus hotel. I do have a relative who offered to go in for me. I’d have to do an ARD form. I am hoping that after New Years, the AG and/or Gov office will respond.
      On another matter has anyone else encountered the $921.15 cost of the 2018 premium? I cannot afford that .

    • Daniel Quinn 7 months, 1 week ago

      Hi Eileen, yikes that seems like quite a trek. I do suggest you go the route of having someone appear in person for you. Probably the next best step. Do you qualify for any subsidies with your premium? That price seems crazy steep.

    • Eileen Charter 7 months, 1 week ago

      Thx. Got a call from Sandra at HC Omb office.Another case#. ” it looks like this was escalated thru the Gov’s office.” Then went on to ask me what my problem was- she claimed to have “just got the case” “Has to do more research”. Wanted me to explain problem. I declined telling her to spk w/ Maureen w/ diff case#. Told her to hunt down my 70 + pages fax & review it then get back to me. Despite Gov’s office call- HC still not putting forth effort to resolve. I then left msg at Gov office. Have also filed a grievance thru NHP but not hopeful. RE: my ins for 2018- not qualified for any subsidies. Can’t get ins anywhere for under $800/mo. Do not qualify for MA Health. I am not the only person this has happened to. Another quest to embark on… Thx again for your article.

  20. Anonymous 7 months, 1 week ago

    The Health Connector are not all as bad you you are putting them out to be, some of you are stating that your premiums are too high, well have you actually stopped to call so they can rerun your application and get you into the best plan possible that fits your income? I have spoken to several agents who were absolutely wonderful and full of help and knowledge before you start putting down a company maybe you should rethink your own situation!

    • Daniel Quinn 7 months, 1 week ago

      The problem with the Health Connector is not the premiums. Only one person here is complaining about that, and even so, you’re in no position to judge whether that person already tried everything they can to reduce their premiums. The problem with the Connector is the inept administration behind it, as documented by the numerous stories above from individuals who had all sorts of problems having their coverage canceled when they were paid to date (including myself). The people who work at the Connector may not be bad people, but they are by and large BAD at customer service, and those of us who wrote their stories here had to call in twenty, thirty, even forty times, interacting with dozens of agents across all the various call centers. That’s a much bigger sample size than the average person calling in for simple questions dealing with accounts that aren’t screwed up. So maybe YOU should rethink your own situation before you start discrediting the stories reported here.

  21. Eileen Charter 6 months, 1 week ago

    Hi Daniel:
    After a month of contacting Gov’s Office of Constituents-nothing has changed. Today Gov office told me that all they can do is email their contact at the HC & that the HC will call back in 48hrs. Other than that the Gov Office cannot help. So I think all they do is email and that is it. I have now contacted my state Reps. Also the AGs office for 3rd time. Am emailing any one I can find who might help. With HC, I got as far as a supposed supervisor of Ombudsman’s Office -ISMEL-who said I need to make another pymt of $300 odd dollars. He said he requested a billing breakdown but he would not complete the laborious task of going over my 3 accounts with me on the phone. (the HC assigned those accts) No one will discuss the bills, my payments & credits of these 3 accts.. I was told by Ismel that sometimes the bills are right & sometimes they are wrong. When I asked him- how am I supposed to know as a consumer what is right? I then said-oh I know I call the CSRs at the HC who delay, hang up, give incorrect info, do not follow thru etc. Ismel says a quality assurance review will be done. Turns out the this review finds nothing but Ismel is sorry for what has happened. This is complicated by 3 mos in 2016 & Jan/Feb 2017 where they originally denied coverage then promised reinstatement. Ismel says they will reinstate me now if I pay up. I have all bills, all pymts & all credits- I worked it out my way and their way and they still owe me money. My repeated requests for Billing Dept are ignored. Ismel says he will be glad to generate a billing breakdown. SO he really has not done that like he implied in previous calls. When I asked for his supervisor, a Corinna came on line after a long wait. She said she was a “floor supervisor”. (this makes me think that Ismel was a CSR not an ombudsman’s supervisor) . Corinna & I argued-She was unhelpful and clearly annoyed to have to talk to me. I asked for her supervisor-She said oh they will tell you the same thing. I persisted & she said most likely Kate from another office (not there) would call & if not she herself-Corinna would call me
    either that afternoon or by early afternoon the next day. Well that was over a week ago. I have 12k in bills from providers who don’t want to hear about it. I expect to be thrown into Collection and that will threaten my credit rating. No one cares.
    I cannot afford to camp out at the HC ‘s physical office in Boston- my research indicates that they won’t be of any help either..
    Am very frustrated…

  22. Eileen Charter 6 months, 1 week ago

    Hi again– The AG office just called me in response to my online complaint. They have a lot of cases and will inform me when they review it. Some hope…

    • Daniel Quinn 5 months, 4 weeks ago

      Hi Eileen, I just wanted to pop in here and tell you that I’m reading. This sounds so much like what I went though, though the end result has been so much worse for you, what with these bills from the insurer. Let us know what happens with the AG’s office.

      I know it would be difficult for you to appear at the HC’s office in Boston, but I still wonder if that might have an effect on your case, especially if you came with lots of documentation. Do they take appointments? Can you sign a form to grant someone else the latitude to appear in your place?

  23. Eileen Charter 6 months, 1 week ago

    I also came across Glass Door site for job searchers. I looked under Company Reviews. Able to read a lot of reviews about working at HC that were not favorable. Wnen I went back to site-you now have to sign in to see these reviews. Reviews allowed current /former employees to comment & give pros & cons. A lot of con.

    • Daniel Quinn 5 months, 4 weeks ago

      Hi Eileen, yes Glassdoor has a lot of interesting reviews for the HC. You can sign up for free with Glassdoor to see them all.

  24. Larissa 4 months, 1 week ago

    Hi Daniel,
    I am so happy to have found your story! I had just gotten off of yet another immensely frustrating phone call with a CSR at HC and was contemplating how else I can go about trying to get my money back when I googled the website and up you came! You tell it so well and amusingly but it really is a sad sad shame that they are so inept and shrouded in secrecy. At least now I know I’m not alone!!! I naively gave them authority to withdraw from my bank account and when they snatched >$700 out of my account a couple days before rent was due in January I was told that I gave them the authority to do that when I signed up. Excuse me? I did not! I gave you the authority to withdraw the agreed upon $87 a month, not whatever you feel like taking. No warning just yanked it. Still waiting for the refund. 65 days and counting. Was just told today that the check was cut feb 23rd, and that the fact it’s been 34 days now and I haven’t received it is no big deal. In fact it can take up to 45. I asked where is it coming from? Answer: “I don’t know.” Asked then to verify my address and guess what, they did not have my apt #. Thank goodness she added it, that should be a big help since the check has been “in the mail” now for 34 days with no way to track it and no idea where it’s coming from. I can’t even put on a happy front when I call this place anymore and for me that’s saying something. I just have zero confidence that they will be at all helpful, reliable, or knowledgeable. Thanks for the laugh and the info! I’ve since moved away from mass but am considering going to an office in person during an upcoming visit. I’m curious how you went about getting your money from the bank because I asked mine and was basically told there was no avenue for that.
    Best,
    Larissa

    • Daniel Quinn 4 months, 1 week ago

      Hi Larissa,

      I’m so sorry to hear about your troubles with the Health Connector. What happened to you regarding them overdrawing your account via EFT was exactly what happened to me.

      The person at the bank you spoke to may be technically correct, it all depends on the timing in your situation. I had very meticulously looked up the conditions under which a transaction could be deemed fraudulent with Bank of America (my bank at the time). The trick in my case was that, I had technically requested that the HC remove autopay *prior* to their withdrawing the money from my account; that is, in my case, I had filed an EFT cancellation request with the Connector, but they failed to process it, so when they withdrew money from my account, they were technically not authorized to do so. Therefore when I wrote to the bank explaining all this, the bank sided in my favor, and refunded the money back to me.

      This in turn caused the HC to think I was past due (the reality, as you know from my story above is that I was actually current despite forcing the chargeback), but that was a separate battle I eventually won against them, due to their mishandling of my billing history.

      In your case, I would try to push back on the bank, because you did not authorize the HC to withdraw *any* amount of money per month, you authorized them to withdraw a specific amount. In a sense, you’ve been overcharged by a merchant. Review the terms for chargebacks as it pertains to merchants. If you can find anything about recourse for being overcharged, write to the bank with a certified letter and request that they reject the HC’s EFT retroactively. But be sure to use the bank’s terminology when writing it. Often the CSRs on the 1800 lines for these banks don’t know the specifics surrounding chargebacks.