Wednesday, December 12, 2012

A Tale Of Woe From My Health Insurance "Provider": AETNA ... by gimleteye

I purchase my own family insurance. Both my wife and I are healthy, with standard, middle-aged wear and tear. We exercise regularly. Eat simply. You get the point. We have 60,000 miles on the vehicle, in a manner of speaking.

I went online to fill out the application for a lower deductible from my current provider, AETNA. I was quoted, online, $1100 per month. The online application required me to provide detailed healthy history and credit card information.

A year ago, when I increased my deductible because of the regular cost increases, no review was required. But when I went to shop lowering my deductible, AETNA required a FULL review as though mine were a new application and as if they didn't already have access to my full health history.

After my wife and I spent two hours on the phone (aggravating?, you tell me), and the company through a third party vendor ("Hello, I am here to ask you questions about your health history. I am a certified medical doctor.") went through our health history with a fine toothed comb, the initial deductible re-materialized 50 percent higher from the online quote: from $1100 to $1800 per month.

My current AETNA policy (with the $10K deductible) is a quarter, of that cost, so when the AETNA representative called to tell me I had been "accepted", I declined.

I want to repeat this: I declined. I also made clear that I wanted to keep my existing policy. "Oh, nothing will happen to your existing policy," the AETNA representative politely told me. I didn't believe her.

To make sure I wouldn't lose my existing policy, after the call was over, I immediately called AETNA billing, to be sure the "new" policy wasn't automatically put into effect and to emphasize for a second time, that I intended to keep the policy with its high deductible: $10,000 per individual and $20,000 per family.

In other words, I declined the new coverage to two AETNA representatives on separate phone calls. I'm safe, right?

Two days later, I received an email that AETNA charged my credit card $1800 for the new policy. It was on a Saturday.

I called the AETNA help desk, but it was closed. "Business hours are Monday through Friday, 8AM to 5PM etc. etc." So I sent AETNA customer service an email immediately, complaining.

So let's review this. The AETNA billing department was closed on Saturday, and yet the AETNA computer had billed me $1800.

A day later, on Sunday, I received a reply that my credit card would be credited in 5-7 business days. It still hasn't been credited.

In my opinion, what my health care provider did constitutes theft. Theft, as clearly as if someone stole my wallet. A little more sophisticated, but theft nonetheless.

As for what my $10,000 deductible gets us? You tell me, and I'd especially like to hear from the Tea Party crazies who believe that health care reform is a communist conspiracy.


Geniusofdespair said...

Well I am not a T-Party crazy but I think you are being ripped off. A $10,000 deductible? What do you pay $30 a month for it? That is all that deductible is worth.

However, now your history is open to all insurance companies with that Doctor interview, I just found it on line. (Just kidding)

Add Aetna Sucks somewhere in your post so you can use the sucks label.

Teatime said...

Healthcare reform is a SOCIALIST conspiracy, not a communist conspiracy.

miaexile said...

Tip - if you ever find yourself in the situation again where you've provided your credit card number for something and then immediately change your mind, call your credit card company and tell them your card has been stolen and you need a new card issued immediately.

I actually had a similar incident, and this is what the credit card company instructed me to do.

I'm sure at some point, deep in the bowels of the "Brazil" monster ( god I love that movie ) the credit back from AETNA will appear.

I'm reading this more as a tale of bad customer service than effed up healthcare, even though, clearly, the healthcare system is effed up.

Anonymous said...

Welcome to Obamacare! How do you like it so far?

Anonymous said...

I assume the previous anon means that a single payer system would have leveled the playing field and put the consumer ahead of unscrupulous insurance companies.

Anonymous said...

I just had surgery and you would have to see the bills I have received from CIGNA. This is backed by the Miami Dade School Board. I would think the number of employees the school board employs that we could get a better deal. THe United Teachers of Dade is also backing CIGNA. Maybe this is the reason Karen Aronowitz is leaving. Some UTD leadership.

Aetna Customer Service said...

We’re sorry to hear of your difficult experience and can certainly understand your frustrations. Upon seeing your post, we researched this and corrected the problem. We would like to explain what happened and be sure that you are satisfied with our response. You can reach us at 877-528-9000 or our online customer service team via Twitter at @AetnaHelp ( On behalf of the entire Aetna team, we’re sorry for any frustration or inconvenience, and thank you for the opportunity to better serve you.