La Rosa Carrington, the single mother of two teenage daughters lost her job in May. Under COBRA, she was allowed to keep her insurance coverage, but was required to pay a part of the premium. When she calculated the premium, using the discount she was entitled to under the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, she sent in a check for $165.15. She soon received a notice from Discovery Benefits, a North Dakota benefits administrator, telling her that her premium was one cent short and that she would lose her insurance coverage.
Dumfounded, Carrington called Discovery and spoke with two customer service reps. Both told her that it was company policy not to waive even one cent of the premium due. She then spoke with a supervisor, who told her the same thing. Carrington threatened to take the issue to the media. Shortly thereafter, she received a call from the supervisor, saying that the supervisor had done the calculation and got the same figure as Carrington.
An executive vice-president for Discovery gave yet another excuse. She said the COBRA software rounded the calculation of $161.1545 up to the nearest penny. Carrington had rounded down, using commonly accepted rounding principles such as those used by the Internal Revenue Service. Needless to say, Carrington’s insurance was reinstated.
This incident not only exposes the grossly impersonal nature of huge corporations, but also makes one wonder if common sense plays even a miniscule part in business transactions.
More healthcare postings:
“Gene Patents – Rewarding Innovation or Inhibiting Research?”, CO Business Litigation Lawyer Blog, posted July 1, 2010
“Woman Resorts to Drastic Remedy to Get Medical Care,” Colorado Business Litigation Lawyer Blog, posted June 17, 2010