We’re hearing from a lot of unhappy Anthem Blue Cross customers this week — there are many, many customers out there who are fed up, to say the least, with the insurer’s planned rate hike of up to 39%. Even if the corporation did agree to put it off for a couple of months.
Many of these Californians have also long been dissatisfied with the service provided by Anthem Blue Cross, which seems to play hide-and-seek when it comes time for them to pay up.
The game goes like this: In order to get reimbursement for policyholders’ medical expenses, the customers have to seek it out. And seek. And seek. Many aggravating hours and phone calls and faxes later — and only then — does Anthem hold up its end of the bargain.
One woman who needed shoulder surgery did her homework in advance, and called Anthem Blue Cross to make certain the procedure would be covered. Yes, it would, she was assured. One surgery later and Anthem said, oops, your share of the bill is $100,000.
A stressful game of hide-and-seek later, and Anthem changed its tune: The insurer agreed to pick up all but $8,000 of the surgery patient’s bill.
Another Anthem Blue Cross customer who runs a small business with her husband got hit with a 35% increase — after double-digit increases in years prior — and protested by saying she would shop around for a more consumer-friendly insurance company. Lo and behold, Anthem came back with a better offer: a very modest increase.
This game is unfair and simply bad business. So, of course, is notifying folks that, in this economy, they would be hit with a 39% increase — much higher than inflation and the rise in medical costs.
Unfortunately for Anthem Blue Cross, one of their newly, truly unhappy customers is a well-known radio commentator and former White House cabinet member who is now a professor at UC Berkeley. Now he says he’s shopping around.
Here’s a link to PRI’s Marketplace, and what Robert Reich had to say about his policy increase.