A Hummel Report Investigation
In its first four months HealthSourceRI - the state’s vehicle to the Affordable Care Act - has attracted thousands of people wanting to sign up. But enrollment has been a struggle for those who contacted The Hummel Report complaining about the process. This week Jim Hummel sits down with a subscriber who spent 21 hours on the phone trying to troubleshoot. We also hear from the director of HealthSourceRI, who says while the program is doing what it was designed to do, the problems we brought to her attention are unacceptable.
The million dollar advertising campaign is one that you probably have seen - on TV, on Facebook or on billboards around the state. And it was one of those ads that caught Mike Kelly’s attention in December.
So he checked out HealthSourceRI’s website and quickly got the answer he was looking for.
Kelly: ``You can just go on and give basic information and it will give you the cost. And the cost was about a third of what it cost to buy a plan on my own directly through an insurance company. ‘’
HealthSourceRI is the vehicle to make the Affordable Care Act - Obama Care - a reality in Rhode Island.
And it was designed for people like Kelly and his wife, who own this business in Barrington. They have no other employees so Kelly was just looking for insurance to cover them and their two sons.
Kelly: ``Before I completed enrollment I called and I had the girl go through my entire application with me before I submitted. I didn’t want to submit it and then it went up three times what it said. She went through it and said `No that’s your cost, go ahead and submit it. ‘”
That was December 4th - he got confirmation the next day, and he made his first payment immediately. He would periodically check his account on the website.
Kelly: ``The money cleared, we have our cards, it started January 1st. We got all of the welcome packages from insurance companies.’’
Hummel: ``So you figured you’re part of the family.’’
Kelly: ``Yeah, I’m all set and then it said I was disenrolled. I didn’t even know what that meant. Disenrolled. So I called and that’s where the nightmare began.’’
Over the next month Kelly would be disenrolled and re-enrolled repeatedly - without every touching his account. He talked to 15 different people, mainly at this call center in Providence, but also one in Florida. Because he didn’t have coverage, his wife had to cancel three scheduled doctor’s appointments even though they had paid their premiums.
Kelly: ``Twenty one and a half hours on the phone to get it straightened out. I used to time it. Because I couldn’t call from my business phone and my cell phone has a timer on it so every time I got on the phone and ended the conversation I wrote down how long I was on the phone for.’’