Florida Blue employees claim 'computer glitch' that impacted thousands is bigger than a glitch

JACKSONVILLE, Fl -- Florida Blue blames its payment processing problems on a third party vendor, but is the problem bigger than that?
 
Some employees believe it is, and some members question how it happened.
 
"It concerns me that the bank did not catch it,' said Lynne Blackman, who is one of 9,500 customers impacted by the insurance company's recent payment processing error.
 
"My account is not set up to be drafted monthly," she said," yet they took the money from my account 48 times."
 
The Florida's Office of Insurance Regulation is reviewing what happened and provided First Coast News with a breakdown of those affected:

·    9,480 Florida Blue customers were impacted statewide by this payment processing error.

o   8,177 are Affordable Care Act (ACA)-Compliant Individual Plan policyholders

o   453 are Pre-ACA-Compliant/Transitional Individual Plan policyholders

o   850 are Medicare policyholders

Blackman is one the ACA members.
 
"I had to go through loops," she said, " I had my bank actually fax them a letter showing how many times it was taken out before they would look into it.
 
Florida Blue, once it discovered the problem, reversed the charges to her account and the accounts of all of the affected members.
 
They also took her May premium of $725.31, which means she has coverage.
 
We spoke with two registered Florida Blue agents to get their perspective on what happened and an objective look into the insurance giant. 
 
Their reaction was frustration, and for fear of retaliation, they wanted to remain anonymous.
 
 "It is a mess, nobody is more frustrated than us as an agent," said an agent.
 
 Another agent said they have had problems with Florida Blue since January.
 
"They're the largest individual insurer in Florida, they're in all 67 counties and still can't get it right," said the other.  
 
The On Your Side team also heard from employees who are frustrated with their employee.
 
This is an email in full context that I received from a Florida Blue employee:
 
Hello Ken,

I am a employee of Florida Blue and I find it very disturbing we as the employee gets in trouble and bad mouth about a glitch in the system that's taken the members premium continuously. This isn't a glitch and has been happening since open enrollment. It has been problem after problem with this company and it isn't getting any better. Now do to this issue making it to the news FloridaBlue is threatening employees about what they say to the members and that our jobs would be in jeopardy. I don't feel like this is right especially since the management team in both departments has been aware of the problems since January 1. Members policies not been active and has made many payments to the plan, double/ triple drafts of members premium, refunds not going out when they are supposed to, and here is another is issue. On top of some of the things the company let go some of their best employees in the last few months about integrity one of the company's value but that value hasn't been followed through this whole open enrollment. Employees has to be dishonest to members all day every day about when the issue will be fixed but it's all a lie. Members hasn't had complete coverage the entire year but has to pay for coverage so they don't get penalized by the IRS. I feel like it's messed up and the members nor employees should have to endure this. I wish you can reach out to the employees who was let go for complete foolishness and Florida Blue don't give 2 flying ducks. ITS COMPLETELY WRONG!!!! "

 We reached out to Florida Blue for comment on the employee's email and this was the company's response:

" The characterization you shared with us does not accurately reflect who we are as a company or how we conduct business.

We take employee feedback very seriously. We encourage employees to share their thoughts and concerns and provide multiple avenues to do so – through their manager, with Human Resources and via employee surveys, as well as through open dialogues with senior leaders held throughout the year.

We expect all employees to uphold our core values of honesty, integrity, fairness and compliance with the law. We maintain a rigorous compliance and business ethics program to help all team members apply these values to their daily activities. This program provides an additional avenue for employees to get answers to compliance and ethics questions and report concerns, anonymously if they wish. We have a strong, values-centered culture that strives for the highest ethical standards.

Regarding recent operational issues, in the first quarter of this year, as we brought on hundreds of thousands of members as a result of open enrollment, there were some challenges for members trying to verify their coverage. We took steps to resolve the issues as quickly as possible, including adding customer service staff and extending service hours, which helped alleviate members’ concerns.

The payment processing error discovered this week was a unique, unrelated issue with one of our vendors that we have moved quickly to address. When we became aware of it, we immediately stopped all auto payments and began evaluating the situation. In less than one business day, we initiated charge reversals for all impacted members. We are taking responsibility for the issue, making things right for our members, and ensuring that it does not happen again. This error did not in any way impact our members’ coverage or their ability to access care, nor will it.

Our mission at Florida Blue is to help people and communities achieve better health and serving our members is our top priority. We are honored that they turn to us for health care coverage for themselves and their families and we are committed to ensuring that all of our members are treated fairly and respectfully. "

 

 

 

© 2017 WTLV-TV


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