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Wed Nov 14, 2012, 08:41 PM

I am so PISSED!

My company used to offer health insurance through BlueCross/BlueShield - one of the best out there. In fact, my company used to offer some of the best benefits around, although offering some of the lowest wages.

The justification for the company was that benefits tended to attract more loyal and longer-lasting employees. The justification for the workers was that you could get more pay, but you couldn't beat our benefits!

Well, for the next year they have switched from one of the best HealthCare insurance companies in the country (BCBS) to one of the WORST - United Health Care.

As a result, our premiums have gone up, our deductibles have gone up. and our benefits have gone down. Now, I understand that that healthcare costs are increasing - but switching from BCBS to UHC? WHY?

Of course, we can't get an answer from HR.

But I am PISSED!

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Arrow 30 replies Author Time Post
Reply I am so PISSED! (Original post)
NashvilleLefty Nov 2012 OP
babylonsister Nov 2012 #1
NashvilleLefty Nov 2012 #6
babylonsister Nov 2012 #15
erinlough Nov 2012 #20
Wind Dancer Nov 2012 #24
Hoyt Nov 2012 #2
KelleyD Nov 2012 #3
Jane Austin Nov 2012 #4
NashvilleLefty Nov 2012 #7
ProudProgressiveNow Nov 2012 #5
NashvilleLefty Nov 2012 #8
madamesilverspurs Nov 2012 #9
Horse with no Name Nov 2012 #10
Honeycombe8 Nov 2012 #11
Horse with no Name Nov 2012 #12
Honeycombe8 Nov 2012 #19
NashvilleLefty Nov 2012 #21
NashvilleLefty Nov 2012 #13
Honeycombe8 Nov 2012 #18
NashvilleLefty Nov 2012 #25
Honeycombe8 Nov 2012 #29
FSogol Nov 2012 #14
NashvilleLefty Nov 2012 #22
HipChick Nov 2012 #16
Honeycombe8 Nov 2012 #17
NashvilleLefty Nov 2012 #23
Honeycombe8 Nov 2012 #27
mrmpa Nov 2012 #26
Honeycombe8 Nov 2012 #28
brokechris Nov 2012 #30

Response to NashvilleLefty (Original post)

Wed Nov 14, 2012, 08:47 PM

1. Why?

Maybe it's because it's cheaper for the company/went with low bidder? And how do you know one is better than the other?

And consider this; you're lucky you have healthcare insurance. Lots of us don't.

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Response to babylonsister (Reply #1)

Wed Nov 14, 2012, 09:17 PM

6. For several reasons

1. Our benefits are going WAY down (not just a little, but a lot)
2. Our costs are going up
3. Most of us accepted lower pay because of the previous benefits, which we are now denied.
4. We used to have low turnover and long-time experience, which is about to be lost.
5. The new-hires will be of a lower quality, because we are now less competitive in the hiring market.

I honestly don't know if UHC was the lowest bidder - according to the paperwork I have seen they were not. Although I'm sure that BCBS rates probably did go up because rates are going up everywhere, I cannot imagine that negotiated rates would be lower with UHC than BCBS. Especially since our division has been extremely pro-active on decreasing medical costs and even added a Wellness Center in order to lower our medical insurance costs. We even had a visit from our former (Democratic, btw) Governor to tour our facilities several years ago. Of course, we now have a Republican Governor who is part owner in Pilot Oil.

Sis, thanks for asking this question - it helps me think about how best to present my arguments.

And that's part of the reason I left waiting tables for a "corporate job", because of their benefits, even though I was taking a cut in pay.

Thank god and/or goddess for Obamacare! EVERYONE needs Health Insurance, whether they think they do or not. I'd rather see Medicare for all, but even the Public Option couldn't pass. So, I'll take what we can get!

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Response to NashvilleLefty (Reply #6)

Wed Nov 14, 2012, 09:53 PM

15. Thanks for this response: I don't know how you

know about who bid the lowest? Did you consider this might have been a political decision? Stranger things have happened. I think I would try to find out why they changed carriers. Why the emphasis on wellness, and then they do this? If enough people question that, maybe you'll at least get an answer.

And one of these days, Obamacare will work for me!

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Response to babylonsister (Reply #1)

Wed Nov 14, 2012, 11:07 PM

20. The fallacy of the argument that "lots of us don't" which implies

That those who do should give up fighting for the best health care they can get, is that my giving up benefits will not help people who don't have any healthcare get some. It was only when unions worked to get their members healthcare that non-union businesses started offering it so they could be competitive. It is to my benefit that as many people as can get good health care because it will help my health care improve. I realize that you are saying the absolute truth, and it is tragic that so many people are without the healthcare they need. This is why I support universal healthcare. But demanding less than adequate care will breed a greater prevalence of inferior healthcare programs, IMHO.

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Response to erinlough (Reply #20)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 12:11 AM

24. Thank you!

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Response to NashvilleLefty (Original post)

Wed Nov 14, 2012, 08:52 PM

2. Sounds like employer is increasing their profits at empoyees' expense.


One of those right wing business philosophies.

Sorry that is happening, but that's what too many businesses have been doing for years.

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Response to NashvilleLefty (Original post)

Wed Nov 14, 2012, 08:55 PM

3. Babalonsister...

Did you not read that he or she said that they took lower pay for better coverage. Sounds like bait and switch to me.

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Response to NashvilleLefty (Original post)

Wed Nov 14, 2012, 08:59 PM

4. We voluntarily switched from Blue Cross to United

and are getting better coverage for the sme money.

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Response to Jane Austin (Reply #4)

Wed Nov 14, 2012, 09:20 PM

7. That would be nice. We are not.

We are getting less coverage for more money.

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Response to NashvilleLefty (Original post)

Wed Nov 14, 2012, 09:02 PM

5. It all depends on what plan your employer...

chose.... there are many levels of coverage and deductibles. Sounds like they chose one of the cheaper ones.

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Response to ProudProgressiveNow (Reply #5)

Wed Nov 14, 2012, 09:21 PM

8. we are talking UHC vs BCBS

ALL of their options are worse.

That's what I don't understand!

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Response to NashvilleLefty (Original post)

Wed Nov 14, 2012, 09:29 PM

9. UHC gives me the squicks.

I initially had my Med D through them. Prices of meds went up regularly, premiums increased. They also liked to decline the doctor's preference in favor of their own (in one case, a twice-a-day pill was refused, they'd only pay for one a day). Finally, they sent me a lovely note asking me to sign up for another term of rising prices, and the premium was going to double. When I had the chance to do so, I changed to another provider.

UHC - way too much bait and switch for my tastes. I fully understand your concern.


-

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Response to NashvilleLefty (Original post)

Wed Nov 14, 2012, 09:34 PM

10. In Texas

More and more providers are refusing to accept BCBS due to insanely low reimbursement rates.
I've had both BCBS and United Healthcare.

Honestly there isn't a spit lick of difference between the two.

However, if your employer was looking to downsize their policy, then it really isn't the fault of the insurer.

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Response to NashvilleLefty (Original post)

Wed Nov 14, 2012, 09:38 PM

11. Actually, United Health Care is one of the highest rated health ins. cos.

It's highly regarded. And I have had it before. Excellent insurance.

What's REALLY bad? Cigna. At least the plan I have now, and one I had years ago. Cigna bad.

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Response to Honeycombe8 (Reply #11)

Wed Nov 14, 2012, 09:45 PM

12. the best I ever had was Harris Methodist HMO

it was amazing and everyone else hated it,lol.
Cigna sucked--lots of time arguing with them--but hands down, AETNA was worse.

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Response to Horse with no Name (Reply #12)

Wed Nov 14, 2012, 10:27 PM

19. CIGNA SUCKS. I've had it twice, at 2 different employers. It sucked both times. nt

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Response to Honeycombe8 (Reply #19)

Wed Nov 14, 2012, 11:52 PM

21. UHC sucks WORSE than Cigna n/t

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Response to Honeycombe8 (Reply #11)

Wed Nov 14, 2012, 09:46 PM

13. Sorry, but Nope! It's #8 of the WORST

Insurance companies in the US. Not of Health Care Insurance companies, but of ALL Insurance companies.

You've been reading their propaganda, haven't you?

Here:

http://www.justice.org/docs/tenworstinsurancecompanies.pdf

Summary:

UnitedHealth, one of the nationís largest health insurers, was ranked one of the ten worst insurance companies in America by the American Association for Justice (AAJ) for its bad faith insurance practices. To learn more about the AAJ report which names the ten worst insurance companies in America, click here.


and:

According to customer satisfaction ratings on FreeAdvice.com, 65% of UnitedHealth customers are very unsatisfied with the insurer. Hereís how survey respondents rated the insurer:

Extremely Satisfied: 8%
Very Satisfied: 4%
Somewhat Satisfied: 10%
Unsatisfied: 13%
Very Unsatisfied: 65%


edit to add link: http://law.freeadvice.com/insurance_law/insurers_bad_faith/united-health.htm

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Response to NashvilleLefty (Reply #13)

Wed Nov 14, 2012, 10:15 PM

18. No. I got the numbers from the complaints registered by the NAIC. See my below post on that.

PLUS, I have had both BCBS and United Healthcare. BCBS coverage was better, but cost a lot more. United Healthcare was very good, compared to Cigna, which I also had at one point, and now have again.

You also need to stick with the same type of insurance. It's possible that one company is bad at auto ins. but great at health ins.

However, I read your "justicedept" list of top ten. It's actually a list by TRIAL LAWYERS.

The ONLY complaint against United Health is the amount of premiums and/or the amount paid to care providers. This is no longer a problem, now that we have the ACA, which requires 80%-85% of premiums go to pay claims.

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Response to Honeycombe8 (Reply #18)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 12:39 AM

25. Ah, but that's a question I have

Do the rebates go back to the employees, or simply to the company?

And that is a question for our company - BCBS did not have to pay any rebates because they pay above the 85% MLR, which means they are better at the intended purpose. However, UHC had to pay out millions of $ because they were a greediy company and didn't meet the minimum MLR%

But, does that rebate come to us, or does it go to the Company?

That's the only thing that makes sense, since UHC had to pay $millions in rebates and BCBS actually did their job and didn't have to pay.

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Response to NashvilleLefty (Reply #25)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 10:11 PM

29. The refund would go to whoever paid for the policy, of course.

Since you didn't pay for the premium, then that's not a complaint you have. The cost of the premium.

That is the ONLY complaint the lawyers list had for UHC....amounts of payments. That is apparently no longer an issue.

I had UHC for years. It was wonderful ins., IMO. It paid all claims, promptly and completely. The premiums were apparently too high, but now they have to reimburse overages.

If you are judging an ins. co. solely on the amount of the premium, then I guess BCBS would be better, in your case. But I thought we were talking about from an insured's point of view. How I judge an ins. carrier, from an employee-provided view, is whether they have a lot of drs. in network (this means they pay the drs. enough), a lot of other care providers, they pay promptly and completely, and don't send "surprise" bills.

My employer dropped BCBS when it got too expensive.

That is all I know. Except that now I have Cigna, which has far fewer drs. in network (meaning it doesn't pay drs. enough). One dr. even has a sign in teh waiting room, "We don't take Cigna."

Talk to me after you've had really lousy coverage, and you'll see the difference. BCBS, UHC...these are top tier.

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Response to Honeycombe8 (Reply #11)

Wed Nov 14, 2012, 09:50 PM

14. We were on UHC for about 10 years and thru 2 pregnancies.

No complaints from us. We are now on Athena and have few problems.

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Response to FSogol (Reply #14)

Wed Nov 14, 2012, 11:54 PM

22. I'm betting that you were on UHC HMO

which they don't offer anymore.

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Response to NashvilleLefty (Original post)

Wed Nov 14, 2012, 09:54 PM

16. My employer pays all of my premiums


All I have is a small co-pay if I have to visit dr's....

They have BCBS....I had to fight with BCBS at another company to get them to pay for a an MRI - it was awful, I hate them, and stuck with them again, at a new employer...

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Response to NashvilleLefty (Original post)

Wed Nov 14, 2012, 10:07 PM

17. Complaint ratios for BCBS and United Healthcare

I looked up consumer complaint ratios for health care ins. for BCBS and United Healthcare here in TX.

The index is the ratio of complaints to # of policies sold for a period of time...indexed to the average # of complaints for all ins. cos. for same type of ins. (1.0 is the average. Anything less than an index of 1 is better than average. Anything more than one is worse than average.)

The complaint index for United Healthcare is 2.4014.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas complaint index is 7.4226.

This means that BCBS had more than triple the # of consumer complaints than United Healthcare. But BOTH had more complaints than average.

I got this info. through http://www.naic.org/state_web_map.htm but it's not easy to get to it. Click on your state. Then you type in the name of the co. (this can be tricky...I used blue cross for BCBS; I used united healthcare for that one).

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Response to Honeycombe8 (Reply #17)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 12:03 AM

23. I'm not in TX.

Although I've visited TX on many occasions. I hate that state.

But, let's stick to facts. TX passed a cap on HC Insurance claims hoping that would drive down Insurance costs as Repoublicans said it would.

TX Insurance companies made out like bandits. When the TX Legislature said "hey, you were supposed to lower costs if we passed this law" TX HC Insurance companies basically said "Huh?" and raised their rates.

So, don't give TX as any kind of example. It is an outlier.

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Response to NashvilleLefty (Reply #23)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 10:02 PM

27. You can look up the complaint index for ANY state. The ACA has changed everything you know.

I got a notice this year from United Healthcare about the refund in the premium. I won't get it, of course, since my employer paid the premium.

The ACA has changed everything. ALL health care ins. cos. now have to spend at least 80% to 85% (depending on whethr employer provided or an individual policy) of premiums collected, on paying claims. If they don't, they have to give refunds that brings them in line with the 80% to 85% rule.

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Response to NashvilleLefty (Original post)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 12:58 AM

26. Ask HR, what kind of kickback they received..........

this is often the case when changes are made. It could be something like sporting event tickets or cash or something else. HR in you company is pretty stupid if they don't read the paper and see that United Health Care is rated at the bottom of Health Insurance companies in the United States.

I would also ask HR, what Blue Cross was going to cost for the upcoming year.

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Response to mrmpa (Reply #26)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 10:05 PM

28. United Health Care is not rated at the bottom. The list provided is from LAWYERS....

and the ONE COMPLAINT about United HealthCare was payment amounts for drs. or paying claims....had to do with payment amounts.

The ACA has changed the ratio for all health care ins. cos. to 80% to 85% of the premiums collected, for payment of claims. If they don't, they have to give refunds that brings them in line with that rule.

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Response to NashvilleLefty (Original post)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 10:17 PM

30. this may not soothe you,

but my uncle has United Health Care and they have been fantastic. He has even had several brain surgeries and is in a care facility.

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