Government vs Private Sector: Which is more efficient?

People say government is inefficient and bureaucratic.  Have they ever dealt with an insurance company?  That’s what I’ve been doing lately – trying to fix problems for seniors enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans run by large, inefficient, bureaucratic insurance companies.

I won’t mention any names, but today I made a follow-up call to a Medicare Advantage company that is telling a 72-year lady she must pay for a dental plan she never used and was never billed for – over a 15-month period.  The company originally took the monthly premium out of this lady’s Social Security check. But at the end of 2008, somebody in the organization realized they aren’t supposed to use Social Security check money for supplemental insurance like dental coverage.   But, whoops, they never informed this lady of their mistake and they never sent this lady a bill for the dental plan during all of 2009 and early 2010.

Being an honest person, this lady never used the dental plan because she figured it had been canceled since she wasn’t paying for it in 2009.  Her mistake was that she didn’t call the company to ask what was going on with the dental plan.

I came into the picture this year because I changed this lady from one plan to another with this Medicare Advantage company.  I guess the plan change triggered some software to discover that this lady had not paid 15 months worth of dental plan premiums.  So she was sent a letter saying she owes the company over $450  – and although her Advantage plan has no monthly premium, she would need to pay $39 per month to the company.

At this point I was going to write about the adventure of getting to the right department to try to sort this out for my client – but it would take up too much time and space here.  Long story short, I got bounced around for a while but finally spoke to someone who said this lady needed to put in a “grievance” so her case could be researched. This was back in early April.

At the end of April I called the company to follow up on the grievance and was told to call back in a month.  In a month I called back and was told to try later…..So today I called and was told that the research had been completed and it was determined that this lady should file a “written appeal” to the company.  Had the lady been informed of this determination?  No.   They figured she’d call  if she wanted to know the outcome.

So now we’ll write a letter explaining the circumstances of the dental insurance billing (or lack thereof) that goes back nearly two years. I don’t really have confidence that this large bureaucracy will admit their mistake and cancel the $450+ bill they are asking this lady to pay. But now we can wait another three months to see how this is resolved.

Because this is not the first bureaucratic nightmare I’ve heard of, the thought came to me that so many people think private industry is so much more efficient than government.  I’d laugh at this concept, except that I’m so pissed off right now.

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4 Responses to "Government vs Private Sector: Which is more efficient?"

  1. Bill Hilser says:

    Hey Blogger: You’re kidding, right? Does the Post Office ring a bell?
    The way it’s looking. there won’t be a government-run post office in 10 or less years. I’ll put my money on less.
    Hello Fed-Ex! And the Brown Truck, which are making hundreds of $Millions$ every year, while the post office is losing $Billions.
    FedGovCo is Sooooo bad, it can’t even sell whiskey and women and turn a profit!
    FedGovCo took over The Mustang Ranch brothel in Nevada for back taxes a while back. It had made the owner, Joe Conforte, a multi-millionaire.  A rich and satiffied man.
    Within a year of FedGovCo’s take-over, the Mustang Ranch Ranch closed and went into bankruptcy.
    If I listed all the other departments that FedGovCo has run into the ground, I’d run out of ink, so those two ought to be shining examples. Enough said.
    Yer pal, Ferrari Bubba

  2. Fernando says:

    The USPS is actually the most efficient postal service in the world.  It handles more parcels, with greater accuracy and speed, in three days, than Fedex or UPS do in a year.  It also has to manage mailing stuff to people in remote parts of our huge country that will NEVER be profitable routes for any private carrier.  We also have some of the lowest postal rates on Earth.  Since when is a public service supposed to be profitable on its own, to survive?  America isn’t a business.  It’s a country.  Otherwise we’d just shoot all the retarded kids and have to get rid of things like public libraries and buses.  You conservatives love public services.  But you don’t like paying for ’em.

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