Health insurers talk a lot about how they’re my “wellness partner,” helping me “live a healthier life” and “empowering me to make good decisions.” But I find all they do is make me ill… sick with aggravation and annoyance.
That’s perhaps best evidenced by the annual health insurance open enrollment process, when insurers put on a master class in exactly how not to treat your customers.
My open enrollment journey began with a letter from my insurer, indicating that my current health plan would no longer be available next year. However, the letter explained, they had already selected a replacement plan that would best meet my needs.
Of course, they neglected to tell me what that plan was. Perhaps they felt adding an element of mystery and suspense to the process would make it more exciting?
A few weeks later, they graciously revealed their plan selection in a second notice. They picked a coverage option that was nearly twice as expensive as my current one – with a narrower provider network, to boot. It seemed like a selection that best met their needs, instead of mine.
So off to the Internet I went to research my alternatives. That alone was an adventure, given how many insurers’ health plan websites appear to have been designed by crazed, blind hermits.
My personal favorite was one major insurer’s site where about half the links to their health plan details yielded the dreaded “404 Web Page Unavailable” error. I guess they really weren’t interested in getting my business (or anyone else’s).
After evaluating other offerings, it was time to figure out what my options were with my current insurer. Naturally, their online plan descriptions triggered more questions than they answered – which meant I’d have to contact the insurer’s 800-line service center (also known as Dante’s 9th Circle of Hell).
All I wanted was to speak with someone who could help me. But that was clearly setting the bar too high.
See also: 3 rules for serving customers online