Woman Gets ‘Runaround’ Trying to Keep Doctors on New Insurance

PHOTO: The HealthCare.gov website is shown in Washington, in this Nov. 29, 2013 photo.Jon Elswick/AP Photo
The HealthCare.gov website is shown in Washington, in this Nov. 29, 2013, photo.

Dear ABC News Fixer: In February, I joined Health Republic simply because my doctors were listed on the Health Republic website as providers. I also called the insurer to verify this. I sent Health Republic a check for $377.69 for coverage starting March 1.

When I got my member ID number, I called my doctor to make an appointment and I was told that he is not a member of Health Republic. I subsequently found out that the rest of my doctors were not members either.

I did not want to change my doctors, some of whom I’ve had for 30-plus years. I told Health Republic on Feb. 21 that I wanted to cancel immediately. They said they would send me a refund in seven to 10 days.

When I didn't receive my refund, I called and got the runaround. I was tossed around from person to person, put on hold for 10 to 15 minutes at a time and told I would get a call back. Never was I given a direct line or a person's full name. And I still haven't heard anything. Can you help?

- Sharon Levy, Huntington Station, N.Y.

Dear Sharon: You’re not the only one griping about enrollment glitches with this new, non-profit co-op, which provides coverage under the Affordable Care Act. Health Republic’s own Facebook page has lots of complaints from people who say they are waiting for ID cards or having enrollment or billing difficulties. (Tip for others in this boat: The company has been responding directly to many of those Facebook posts, so complaining there might be worth a try.)

We asked Health Republic’s chief operating officer, Nick Liguori, about your promised refund, and he ended up personally calling you. He told you he’s working on improving Health Republic’s customer service, and he made sure they overnighted you the refund, which you have already received and deposited in your bank account.

The bad news is you’ve been uninsured since Dec. 31 because your previous insurance company canceled you, and you lost time getting re-insured because of this snafu. You told the ABC News Fixer you did find a new insurer but you’ll have to wait until April 1 for that coverage to kick in.

As for the incorrect listing of your doctors, Health Republic spokesman Michael Fagan said it’s possible the website wasn’t updated. Our advice for any consumer: With any insurance plan, always call each of your doctors’ offices to confirm that they accept that plan. Don’t rely on an insurance company’s website.

Fagan added that they are working on fixes to their customer service, especially improvements to their call center -- though you won’t be needing that now.

- The ABC News Fixer

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