The trend among health insurance companies used to be to outsource their customer service overseas. United Healthcare was the biggest proponent of this practice in my opinion.
Recently I received word through my job that a national carrier and a large east coast regional carrier are moving towards eliminating customer service reps altogether.
I work for a service that contacts insurance companies on behalf of doctors. Within the past few weeks, a major national carrier has made it where doctors, at least, can not speak with a live person and are being directed to the carrier’s website. I have no problem in using an insurance company’s website. I’ve been using them since as long as they’ve been around and they can be very helpful and a time saver.
However, there are plenty of times where the information you need is not on the website and you need to speak to a live person. For example on most websites, they only give you a general benefit breakdown. If your doctor needs to perform a specialty service the website probably won’t have that benefit.
Now granted, that’s an infrequent occurrence for most general practitioners. So what does this mean to you? I’m sure the insurance companies view this as a cost-cutting measure. Do you think that they’ll pass the savings on to you? Probably not. If anything, thanks to the Affordable Care Act, there will probably be an increase in premiums.
As long as the ACA stays in effect our healthcare industry in this country is doomed to crash.