I have a family and to reduce the chance of going bankrupt over health care bills, I carry health insurance. Last year, I was working a contract job and took out an "Obamacare" policy to protect my family. That policy is great for preventive maintenance, but if you're going to have a baby, watch out. They will pay 80% and then you're on the hook for the rest.
Fortunately, I was hired into a permanent position last year and needed to cancel my policy at the start of the new year, when my new employer-based health insurance kicks in. A couple weeks before the planned transition, I called Arches Health Plan, our carrier and gave notice of cancellation. The customer service representative told me flat out, I'm paraphrasing here, "I'm sorry, sir. You'll have to wait until December 31st to cancel. Please call back then."
I know. That seems weird, huh? Why should I have to wait until December 31st to cancel? Well, I almost took her at her word and waited, but my wife, Alice, insisted that I call sooner. So I called on December 30th. At the end of the call, I had a firm verbal confirmation that the policy would end effective, Midnight, December 31st.
On December 31st, Arches promptly took an electronic transfer of the monthly premium from our bank account, without notice. Over the next several days, through several phone calls and attempts to set the matter straight, I worked with Arches and Healthcare.gov to correct the problem.
Arches did admit that I had requested cancellation prior to the desired end time of 2014-12-31 @ 11:59. But for some reason, unknown to me, they insisted on automatically re-enrolling me for a new policy starting on 2015-01-01, and ending it on the same day. That means that they felt justified in deducting $11 from the refund that they ultimately provided.
I wanted to fight them on this, but my wife said that I have better things to do. In a way, I agree. It seems like such a small thing, so why bother, right? Well, I'm a bit incensed about it, so I'm writing about it. I'm hoping that shining a little light on this practice will encourage this co-op to correct the practice and stop it. If I get a refund of that $11, that's a bonus.
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