I have been a customer of Oxford Health Insurance since 2001; yes for you math geniuses that's 15 years. I first got Oxford Health Insurance when I joined what was then known as DLJdirect and kept it - I even used COBRA to keep it when the company formerly known as DLJdirect was purchased by e*Trade. I remember sitting in a conference room with my fellow employees going over e*Trade's benefits and I was the only person that raised their hand when I asked about using COBRA to keep Oxford Health Insurance. Why did I do that? Well, because my wife Mary had breast cancer and the moment I switched over to e*Trade's health coverage, I'd be looking at thousands of dollars in deductibles almost immediately, so I kept Oxford. In fact, I added Oxford as my LLC's health coverage and throughout Mary's battle with breast cancer, I never paid anything more than co-pays. That's 10.5 years worth of cancer bills. After Mary passed away, my small business plan was no longer allowed so I went with Oxford's platinum health coverage. That includes when they were purchased by that awful company, UnitedHealthcare.
So, let's now skip to Obamacare and in full disclosure, as part of my work with political advertising, I've run tons of ads online against Obamacare. I know a lot about Obamacare. Yes - we all know by now that if you liked your healthcare plan, you definitely never kept it through the implementation of Obamacare. However, it didn't bother me too much except for that part of being deceived in the marketing of Obamacare to the public. Yes - I get the good things about Obamacare; your kids can stay on your plans longer, there is marketplace for plans, and you can't be denied coverage for preexisting conditions. However, rates have gone up, coverage has gone down, and deductibles kept going up. That awful company UnitedHealthcare kept tinkering with the Oxford plans and up until recently they were still good; that is until this year when they sunk the Oxford brand and are trying to force migrate customers to UnitedHealthcare plans that truly suck.
At the beginning of October I got an unmarked white envelope that I happen to open up out of mere curiosity. To my utter disappointment, it was a giant get lost letter. It's the kind of mailing that a marketing team is forced to mail out in the hopes that their customers throw it out and NEVER read it. It's the kind of letter that a marketing team and their legal team puts their minds together to figure out how to make sure the vast majority of customer don't read it so the marketing team meets their retention goals for the year. It's the kind of letter that you get when you raise rates but don't want your customer to see while you blast these misleading ads that make you think that UnitedHealthcare isn't a company that's going to screw you over when in fact they are. The rest of the letter was plain paper with black lettering without even the blue typeface of UniteHealthcare's logo. It's just a plain screw off letter.
Page 1 (shown here) was definitely the start of the goodbye but their lawyers wrote it as an negative opt out which means IF YOU DO NOTHING THEY AUTOMATICALLY ENROLL YOU IN A CRAPPIER PLAN. That's totally unfair and definitely a deal cut between the marketing, legal, and product teams to get people off of a legacy plan and force migrated over to a worse plan. They even confuse people by giving you two dates you must be enrolled in - December 15 to take action and then December 31 if you want coverage with a new plan to start on January 1. Again, written by a lawyer with input from marketing so to increase the chance of confusion.
Next up, this plan, if I somehow lost my mind and agreed to it, costs me $200 more per month and as you will see in a few lines, for far worse coverage. It also neatly comes in $3.74 below $1,600 - again probably a negotiated number to make it appear not as sucky as it really is. The minimum $1,600 per month translates into $19K in cash per year from me which makes this letter even a larger screw you by the UnitedHealthcare vultures. That's like 20x larger than a car payment - do you think you'd get a giant white ugly marketing piece from a car company when they try and get you to spend less than that per month? Oh that cost includes the lovely processing of having to choose a PCP to get referrals (I technically know that's a bit whiny but this is about being charged more for less)
Next up is page 2 of the letter which is conveniently printed double sided - probably not to save money but in the hopes that the customer doesn't read the second page. It has two lousy giant screw you points: 1) if you don't like your plan they suggest you go to the healthcare marketplace and find a new one AND 2) an 800# to call if you have questions.
First I called the 800#. Guess what - they couldn't help me and transferred me. So, the next transfer number couldn't help me either so I picked up my insurance card and called the number on the back. That number explained to me that Oxford wasn't being offered in NJ and that UnitedHealthcare would handle my insurance but they werent prepared to take calls until open enrollment on November 1; that's right - the lousy marketing geniuses at this vulture of an insurance company, UnitedHealthcare, sent out a letter 30 days before they had phone support - that's another screw you. Oh and how about sending people to the marketplace to review competitive plans. This is terrible terrible customer service and further proof UnitedHealthcare doesn't want your NJ business.
There are more lousy pages but the real kick in the NJ family jewels comes from this last page which shows my changes from the old plan to the new plan: deductibles going from $0 to $2,250, no co-insurance to 20%, increases of opt of pocket expenses and then additional increases across the board. I don't believe there was a single item that improved. Not one. Just more money per month for worse coverage.
After 15 years, I expected more but UnitedHealthcare doesn't care. You see all of those funny commercials which they are plowing big money into, but at the end of the day, they are not interested in being your healthcare provider. UnitedHealthcare hopes that you don't notice the auto enrollment into a more expensive plan for worse coverage. Oh and when you have any questions about the screw you letter you just received, there isn't anyone there to answer your questions - so your only option is to go to the Obamacare marketplace but that's not available until November 1. So you are stuck with piles of fire starter until then because if you forget about this letter, they will auto enroll you into a worse plan.
The UnitedHealthcare vultures don't want your business - they don't want to help your health, all they are really interested in is making a buck. True marketing vultures - do not use them. Avoid UnitedHealthcare in your open enrollment and pay attention to who you vote for in future elections - it's past time to fix what's going on in Obamacare.