Sometimes I Feel Like a Piece of Bologna

Thursday, December 14, 2006

More Sandwich Generation Frustrations

I was out most of yesterday, so didn’t make any phone calls to Secure Horizons--knew I didn't have time to sit on hold--but I did receive a phone call from the salesman. He gave me another Customer Service phone number to call for information. Today I called that number and got through in a mere 20 minutes! However, the number I reached was the HMO section. They could only tell me what we already have. They knew nothing about the PPO.

The Customer Disservice rep transferred me to another number, another division where the rep knew even less. She tried to get me to call the HMO department, but of course, I had already been there.

After several minutes of my telling her what I wanted and her telling me she couldn’t help, I asked to be transferred to a supervisor or someone who could answer my questions.

She transferred me to the sales office, where finally a knowledgable young man named John told me that the plan that had been marketed as a PPO isn’t. It’s a fee-for-service plan. We explored the coverage of both plans—and he actually knew what each of them covered! He didn’t have a side-by-side comparison, but as I got answers, I was able to create one. And the whole call, including three transfers and 10 minutes worth of useful information, only took an hour.

I find it so frustrating that United Healthcare feels they can jerk these seniors and their Gen Sandwich advocates around with such abysmal customer service. I don’t mind helping out my parents, but I really get frustrated with companies that don’t respect my time or that of my parents. As I make calls or do other service for my parents, I always ask myself, “Would Mom be able to handle this?” Most of the time, the answer is no.

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