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Insurance tangle unwinds without a hitch

My wife and I are teachers in Pasco County schools. We both purchased injury insurance from Conseco Health Insurance Co.; payments were made through payroll deductions.

Here are the events. My wife and I signed up for this insurance at the end of the 2002 school year. I was hurt on the job and was out for a period of time on workers' compensation. I was not getting payroll checks, so Conseco was not getting the premiums. I put in a claim for my injury, which the company paid.

In January, my wife and I both received letters stating we owed money to the insurance company. It said my wife owed $83.52 and I owed approximately $283. I called and asked why and was told that because I was out of work for a while, the premiums were not being paid. I said that made sense, but that I thought the amount was incorrect because my wife had received a letter as well, and she had not missed a payroll deduction. I never received an answer.

In March, I injured my hand. I called the insurance company and asked for the forms to file a claim. They were mailed to me; I filled them out correctly with all copies of doctor and hospital statements. Then I received a letter dated May 20 that said my policy had been canceled. I called and asked how it could be canceled if Conseco was still accepting payments through payroll deductions.

Since that time, neither I nor the school district has been able to straighten out this problem with Conseco. I called Conseco's district manager three times, but he never returned my calls. One representative said she would send me a schedule of payments so I could see what was happening. It never came. I did receive a message on my answering machine that the reason the account is behind is because Conseco should have been charging me approximately $45 per deduction from the start. That is very interesting because my wife's charges are still $20.88 per pay period.

When I ask if my policy is still in effect the answer is yes, but Conseco won't pay my March claim. What I would like is to get my claim paid. I also would like to find out if my wife owes anything and if so, why. Finally, I would like to find out what my payment is. If Conseco says my policy is not in effect, I would like both our premiums returned from Jan. 1, which is when I was told my policy was canceled. Mike Overbeck

Response: Becky Doemland with Conseco's marketing communications department in Carmel, Ind., said you have received a direct response from the company that she could not share with us for reasons of privacy. She also said you have been given the name and direct number of a customer service representative who is familiar with your policies and available for any future needs.

A quick call to you provided the missing information. After receiving our letter along with your complaint, you said you received "action" from Conseco. You were called by someone "because it was press-related" and told the additional costs that accrued while you were out of work have been removed (no reason was given), your wife's premium has been decreased by 2 cents, yours stays the same, and your March claim would be paid. Five days later, you said you received a check for $570. The slate has been wiped clean, you are all caught up, and you said it's as if the problems never happened.

Poor service delayed rebate

I need help getting a $20 rebate from Symantec for the purchase of Norton Antivirus software. The company could not find fault with the paperwork I sent in, so it has come up with a new way to avoid paying: It says I purchased the software too soon. The rebate offer was valid from June 29 through Sept. 27, and I purchased the software July 31! Please see what you can do for me. This is the second time I've had a problem with this company. George Wukoson

Response: Phil Wyler, public relations manager with Symantec in Springfield, Ore., said your information has been forwarded to the research team. However, he said he could see that you had submitted the required information correctly and felt safe in saying that you would receive your check.

According to him, the fulfillment house Symantec had been using provided unsatisfactory customer service, and a new company has now been retained to process rebates. He apologized for the poor customer service you received, but he believes your problem has been fixed.

Action solves problems and gets answers for you. If you have a question, or your own attempts to resolve a consumer complaint have failed, write Times Action, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731, or call your Action number, (727) 893-8171, or, outside of Pinellas, toll-free 1-800-333-7505, ext. 8171, to leave a recorded request.

Requests will be accepted only by mail or voice mail; calls cannot be returned. We will not be responsible for personal documents, so please send only photocopies. If your complaint concerns merchandise ordered by mail, we need copies of both sides of your canceled check.

We may require additional information or prefer to reply by mail; therefore, readers must provide a full mailing address, including ZIP code. Names of letter writers will not be omitted except in unusual circumstances. Letters may be edited for length and clarity.

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