My Letter Regarding United Healthcare

Hello Dear Reader(s)!

I have to apologize for once again being unavailable to post that much.  I have been dealing with my incompetent insurance company.  I have decided to share the message I sent to AARP regrading the issues I’ve been dealing with today for your entertainment, education, and enlightenment.  I am also sharing so you will know what others have in store when considering which health insurance company you will do business with.

I am not a member of AARP as I am not 50 or older. But since I am disabled and on Medicare I was looking for Medicare Advantage Plans and chose one from United Healthcare partially based on the fact that it holds the AARP name.
I deeply regret that decision.
Their customer service is completely abhorrent. In January, I attempted to change my primary care provider to a specialist in their network and was told it would be done, only to find out in late March that not only wasn’t it done, but it could not be done due to the fact the provider is a specialist. I have been to that specialist and other specialists referred by that doctor, including a couple of procedures operating under the false information they gave me.
It was only for an unrelated glitch in their automated system that showed my plan terminated (it wasn’t), when a provider called for eligibility in late March that the error was discovered. At that time, the representative informed me that he would change it to the specialist. The call was disconnected on the representative’s end during an attempted transfer, so I called back and spoke with another representative who informed me there was no way to make a specialist my primary care physician. She would note the account of the misinformation in an attempt to stave off any denied claims due to improper referral and then would assign me a primary care physician for a blanket referral to my oncologist. She assigned me the primary care physician back to the one I technically was assigned to all along, but was supposed to have changed from in January. I informed her I had an upcoming procedure and she told me it would be fine until I could get into see him. I had the procedure and called today to make an appointment with that PCP for the explicit reason of getting a referral to my specialist and for any upcoming procedures necessary but when I did, he was not accepting new patients. I called UHC again to switch providers to someone who was. They assigned me to another doctor. I called that office to make an appointment, and they closed their clinic on March 31st. I called again to UHC and spoke with a supervisor. That supervisor then assigned me another doctor and called to make sure they were accepting new patients. They were. However their system had that doctor near me but in actuality they were far away in a completely different city. I am on the phone with them currently to get yet another primary care physician.
Beyond the obvious hassle involved and deficiency of United Health Care has demonstrated in even providing accurate information about the providers that contract with them, this also created a potential situation where they will deny claims based on me operating under the information they have told me.
Additionally, after the 3 provider changes today, I have found that there is a pattern for representatives including supervisors to try to get the customers off of the phone with changes that are not complete. My disability on some days does not prevent me from following up once I suspect that a company has not given me proper or complete information, but unfortunately, many of the vulnerable senior citizens you claim to represent may not be able to make 4 phone calls in a day to get something done. In addition, I trusted the company in January when they said they changed the provider the first time. I know better than to trust them now. How many senior citizens are being told misinformation and relying on it because of your endorsement? 
In short, I beg you to reconsider adding the AARP name to these plans. I beg you to look at more than the metrics provided by the company and look at actual member experiences. Having representatives available to answer the phones when a customer calls for service does not mean the service provided is competent.
Joshua Wrenn

Of course, if we elect Bernie Sanders, he will attempt to take these companies who profit off of the suffering of others out of the business altogether.

While the government may make errors too, wouldn’t it be nice if greed wasn’t a factor?  Additionally, I have had no trouble with Medicare itself, just the plans on top of it.

I will also be writing a letter regarding my situation to Medicare.  If any claims are denied based on the misinformation they gave me, I will also contact an attorney and the state’s insurance commissioner.

If any of you have had issues with this or any other health insurance company, I would love to hear about it in the comments.


Author: Josh Wrenn

Cancer survivor, wanna-be artist, musician, author, and all around good guy.

20 thoughts on “My Letter Regarding United Healthcare”

  1. I have to be upfront with you, I have United Healthcare through my company and so far that have been very on point for us. Even through all my wife’s mental health hospitalizations, we really did not have any issues with billing or working with different mental health facilities.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad. When I had UHC through my employer they weren’t the worst either (with the exception of using express scripts for drug coverage, and all the junk mail.) So for group coverage it could’ve been much worse. On this med advantage plan however…

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Insurance companies drive me crazy. I used to do all the billing audits for a large hospital system in Phoenix and I would have to go line by line to recoup all the stuff the insurance companies wouldn’t pay or reimburse the hospital for. I must have recouped millions for the hospital over several years, fighting tooth and nail with the insurance companies. But the system is so cumbersome and difficult to navigate if you don’t’ know the ins and outs.
    Then my son and I were in a car accident. We didn’t have medical coverage on our auto insurance (we didn’t know we needed it since we thought our health insurance would cover it – silly us) and my health insurance wouldn’t cover the treatment for the injuries from the accident. The hospital wanted to charge us full price (what they charge the insurance companies – knowing they will only get reimbursed a percentage from insurance companies) because we were paying cash (or Self-Pay). I called the billing department and told them I was not paying their over-inflated medical costs, I would pay exactly what they would expect to be reimbursed from the insurance companies -nothing more. My $1200 bill was dropped to about $400. The whole insurance company/hospital costs is such a horrible game of trying to bluff one another out and the consumers get stuck in the middle.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. YOU GO. I’ve had countless issues with different health insurance companies, but the present one which I am fighting is the fact that the “allowed amount” Blue Shield (my new carrier since Anthem discontinued my old plan) has dictated for a service I have been receiving from the same provider for 8 years is unprecedentedly, unjustifiably, arbitrarily low. They refuse to provide me with the data they use to derive this allowed amount, although they say they abide by Medicare’s federal allowed amounts–but, my provider sees Medicare patients on much higher allowed amounts (as set by Medicare), so obviously Blue Shield is lying. So I filed two grievances through Blue Shield’s grievance process, was denied on both, and am now taking my complaints up the ladder (to the state govt level, which in CA means the Department of Managed Health Care and the Department of Consumer Affairs, and then probably will sue them). I’ve enlisted the help of my state senator’s office (I called them and my assembly member’s office to complain and ask for help, and they said usually either they or the assembly member’s office takes on a case, not both), and the insurance broker my company uses (since my health insurance is through my job). The state senator’s office has been nice and helpful–they have a direct line to Blue Shield so got Blue Shield to call me directly in response to both of my grievances (I was called by someone who works in a Blue Shield office in CA, with a real address and direct phone #). And they said they will try to get the information BS (fitting acronym) uses to derive their allowed amounts even though BS refuses to supply me with it. Although since then have been unresponsive, so it remains to be seen how much more helpful they’ll be. So try calling your state reps and see if they can help you. I’ll keep you updated on my process, and please keep me updated on yours too. In solidarity with you. Fight on!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Gonna share this to get some exposure. Personally (don’t hate me) I’ve never had issues with healthcare because I’m Canadian… sorry. I hope you guys down there get it sorted because it’s crazy what you have to go through just to stay alive.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Josh as Someone who worked on the inside for employer based group plans but utilizing another network I get this frustration and I tried very hard to make changes before letting people go or following up because I myself have chronic illnesses and these were long standing pet peeves of mine. I wasn’t always successful bit my company to their credit gave me flexibility to do that instead of just pushing people off the phone. In my blog I talk about these issues and my bureaucratic puzzles from time to time and how frustrating they are. I don’t qualify for Medicare or Medicaid yet but some issues are so universal – I get your frustration believe me!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Sadly, I’ve been with several insurance companies, some large, some small, and have been screwed by every single one of them. The system is just very, very broken and has cost me thousands and thousands of dollars. You have my sympathy. Asshats.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I think our health system in Australia is bad, but then I read about yours! We really are lucky, and I don’t say this lightly. I have private health cover, which I pay over $400 a month for. As I have a pre-existing spinal condition, I have to pay $1000 or more when entering hospital for surgery as well. However, for many things, we can just go to a local hospital, be seen and treated for no money and no major paperwork.

    Liked by 1 person

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