"Do computers really make our lives easier?" OR "Insurance companies are the devil"

This is a rant. If you wish to skip the moaning/groaning, click here.

So we had Aetna dental insurance through Boeing from July to the end of October. On Oct. 8, I called to get our benefits information. There are no preferred dentists anywhere near Charlottesville, but the customer service representative said, “because you are new, all preventative care will be covered 100%.” I said, “Cleanings, x-rays, fluoride, everything.” She said, “Yes, the works. Everything is covered at 100%.”

So, before Oct. 31, Christopher, I, Megan, and Gavin all saw the dentist. A few weeks later, I got the bills. Yes, Aetna paid out “at 100%”, but only on the “Boeing fee schedule.” So, our dental checkups (and we all have perfect teeth, thank goodness), are “covered at 100%,” oh, except for $183.

Now, $183 probably isn’t that big of a deal for 4 dentist’s visits, include x-rays, cleaning, etc. But it’s the principle of the thing. So, I call up Aetna’s Boeing customer service line. I press “1” because I’m a member. I press “1” for claims. I press “1” since I have my ID card. I press “1” if my ID number has letters in it. I press “1” if the first letter is a W. I type in the numbers after the W. I say my name. Then, I have to say my date of birth: “March 14, 1981” (this is not my actual date of birth, btw). The computer says, “You said: October 18, 1981.” Is this correct? I say, “NO.” Another five minutes of this and I’m like, “Operator. Customer service. HUMAN BEING.” The computer says, “You wish to speak with a customer service representative?” Is this correct? YES. Just one moment, please. CLICK

Yes, the computer hung up on me because I wanted to speak to a person. I tried this five times, and each time, I got disconnected. Slow learner or glutton for punishment? You decide.

So I tried sending an email on their website, asking them to call me back. After filling out all the information, I got this screen:
System Error
We are unable to complete your transaction at this time.
Please try again later or call Member Services at the toll-free number on your member ID card for assistance.
We apologize for any inconvenience.

So I called the number again, and selected “provider” this time. Despite failing to input my tax ID number, I was connected to a live human being. When Amy Beth answered, I said, “I’m an Aetna member and I’m trying to get a live person on the phone.” The answer I got was, “How did you get this number?”

Grrr… luckily, Amy Beth was sympathetic and after I told her the situation she managed to connect me with someone who was authorized to actually talk to me. I was only on hold for 14 minutes. After I got Toni on the phone, I explained the situation, and she helped me by saying, “Thanks for calling. All claims disputes must be submitted in writing to the following address…”

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4 thoughts on “"Do computers really make our lives easier?" OR "Insurance companies are the devil"

  1. I absolutely hate the automated phone systems. I especially hate the ones where you have to say everything. That is so hard to do with kids yelling in the background. It’s a lot of “I’m sorry. I didn’t understand that. If you want..blah, blah, blah.” Good luck!

  2. Oh, oh, oh. This is one of my number one pet peeves. I hate those stupid automated systems. I really wish they did have a “human” option. Argh. I feel your pain.

  3. I hate automated systems! Quick tip for future reference: with most of the automated systems, just press zero over and over and eventually it puts you through to a person. Not certain if it will work with Aetna but it’s worked for everything else I’ve tried it on. Good luck! – Seth

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