Thursday, February 14

Woah there HSA

Last year I started out on this adventure called COBRA. At first everyone was confused about who I should be paying. Anthem said, "Pay US!" and Sterling HSA (the 3rd party provider that my company uses) said, "Pay US!" It went back and fourth and finally got settled after a few months, and then we dropped Lisa from my health plan (As really, she wasn't using 720 dollars worth of health care each month...) so the cost went down by half. At this point I was paying Anthem directly for my COBRA, and everything was great. Then Sterling did... something, and suddenly it was back to paying Sterling again. (Funny thing is, I pay Anthem the direct amount I owe Anthem, but Sterling adds an additional 2% for the "convenience" of sending my checks to Anthem for me...)

I started paying Sterling again about a year after I started and then in January I was coming up with the problem where they wouldn't authorize my deductible amount. I was (as you might remember) stuck paying the 3k over my deductible, plus the deductible, on the spot. That's a chunk (a hefty chunk) of saving gone... poof.

I get an email today from my Sterling rep saying, "Anthem just called us and said that you owe them 700 dollars." To which I was like, "WHAT!?" I quickly dialed the contact she gave me at Anthem and we spent the next twenty minutes comparing numbers, check amounts, etc. I can account for every penny I owe Anthem. In fact, when I ran the numbers of the amount of money I have paid Anthem and Sterling over the past COBRA the amount I figure I should owe and the amount I have paid are off by about 2500 dollars.

I pull together my numbers and send an email to both Anthem and Sterling folks with the data. (Still waiting to hear back from either parties)

So, as I wait here for the phone to ring and someone promises to get some money in the right direction I thought I would fill you all in on what was going on. I think very soon I will start to make phone calls if I don't get any. Lesson: if someone every offers to send checks on your behalf to the person who is actually rendering you a service... just say no.

UPDATE: Sterling comes through. I guess it's "standard policy" to run the COBRA payments 30 days out, so to Anthem it looked like I haven't paid them anything this year... effectively being 45 days past due. Sterling is going to do me a favor and forward all the money they have and explain the situation to Anthem. Hopefully this will fix the problem. I think it was the point that I was telling the Sterling rep that I would be out of pocket about 15,000 dollars as of next week that she got the idea that this was pretty serious. So ultimately Sterling caused the problem, but Sterling is also fixing it for me. All this health-care stuff is making me go white...

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