Join Early Retirement Today
Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Re: Americans want universal health coverage
Old 06-08-2006, 06:09 PM   #21
Recycles dryer sheets
VoyT's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 445
Re: Americans want universal health coverage

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cute Fuzzy Bunny


It appears that the pharmacies - at least our local ones - are severely limiting quantities of meds they are holding in inventory to cut costs, preferring to "almost just in time" inventory filling that takes a couple of days.* They've also in unison decided to severely reduce customer communications, waiting for you to show up in the pharmacy to tell you something didnt get filled.

* * That's happened to DH twice in the past 2 months, from 2 different pharmacies. (one of them WalMart's) Both times it was, "Sorry, we had to order it. It'll be in xxxday."* He was so happy to waste time and gasoline....

__________________

__________________
"Coffee: the finest organic suspension ever devised." -- Kathryn Janeway
VoyT is offline   Reply With Quote
Join the #1 Early Retirement and Financial Independence Forum Today - It's Totally Free!

Are you planning to be financially independent as early as possible so you can live life on your own terms? Discuss successful investing strategies, asset allocation models, tax strategies and other related topics in our online forum community. Our members range from young folks just starting their journey to financial independence, military retirees and even multimillionaires. No matter where you fit in you'll find that Early-Retirement.org is a great community to join. Best of all it's totally FREE!

You are currently viewing our boards as a guest so you have limited access to our community. Please take the time to register and you will gain a lot of great new features including; the ability to participate in discussions, network with our members, see fewer ads, upload photographs, create a retirement blog, send private messages and so much, much more!

Re: Americans want universal health coverage
Old 06-08-2006, 07:55 PM   #22
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
cute fuzzy bunny's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Losing my whump
Posts: 22,697
Re: Americans want universal health coverage

Seems to be the customer disservice du jour. I've had several delivery companies in the last few years just not show up to deliver a tv or appliance and when I called at 5-6pm to see if they were coming got "oh, we were out of those so we cant bring one", "the truck bringing those to us broke down so we couldnt deliver it" and "the salesman said we'd deliver that today? Well, they have to be manufactured and that takes three months."

When I've asked why they couldnt make a 20-30 second phone call to save my entire day of waiting, I get "Oh, we dont do that..." or "We used to do that, but we dont anymore".

I've found that not buying from those people and going to others nets me the same quality customer service.

I think I know why prices arent rising faster than they are. Customer service has been cut to the point where a 20 second phone call is too expensive/time consuming, or the quality of people and what they're paid are at a level where it never occurs to them to provide any sort of quality service.
__________________

__________________
Be fearful when others are greedy, and greedy when others are fearful. Just another form of "buy low, sell high" for those who have trouble with things. This rule is not universal. Do not buy a 1973 Pinto because everyone else is afraid of it.
cute fuzzy bunny is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: Americans want universal health coverage
Old 06-08-2006, 10:36 PM   #23
Full time employment: Posting here.
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 784
Re: Americans want universal health coverage

CFB, you seem to have a rather deep pool of unfortunate experiences with customer service departments. Personally, I hardly ever use the things, I guess I grew up from a point where the assumption was pretty much that it's not going to be worth the time or effort... I can only think of one phone call I've placed to customer service in the last five years, and that was when I was helping an old man install a printer from a company whose products I'd never even think of using, and there was some weird error that neither I nor the phone rep. could resolve.

In general I guess I usually just figure the thing out on my own, plus I don't buy that many products in the first place. These days I think e-mail probably gets a faster and better response, but I seem to recall you had a few (probably exaggerated ) horror stories about e-mail customer service, too. Well, I guess there's no perfect solution... you're probably right about most companies' service sucking completely, and there are people like me who'd generally rather pay five bucks less for the end product than have it come with good customer service that I'll never use.

For someone who seems to have a pitch-perfect memory of every subpar experience from the last twenty years, do you have any personal experience with organizing a customer service department, or a nifty approach that would resolve their big problems? Or do you have a dismissive one-liner that chalks it up to cheap, stupid, immoral companies and brain-dead corporate culture?
__________________
Cool Dood is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: Americans want universal health coverage
Old 06-08-2006, 11:34 PM   #24
Recycles dryer sheets
VoyT's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 445
Re: Americans want universal health coverage

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cool Dood
CFB, you seem to have a rather deep pool of unfortunate experiences with customer service departments. Personally, I hardly ever use the things, I guess I grew up from a point where the assumption was pretty much that it's not going to be worth the time or effort... I can only think of one phone call I've placed to customer service in the last five years, and that was when I was helping an old man install a printer from a company whose products I'd never even think of using, and there was some weird error that neither I nor the phone rep. could resolve.

In general I guess I usually just figure the thing out on my own, plus I don't buy that many products in the first place.
* *Could be worse, Dood, I could be listing my 25 years worth of crappy service stories* ....* I'm guessing you live in an apartment? Or maybe you're just more mechanically inclined than I am.

* * *I don't really expect much service for most products -- it's become easier to throw it out and buy a new one if I can't fix it myself. * But if I pay someone to provide a service,* like repair my washing machine or satellite dish, or deliver my refrigerator or install my cable,* well, call me picky, but I damn well expect them to show up when they say they will.* And if my doc calls in a script for a drug that needs to be ordered, I'd like to know that too ---* so I can order it from Canada next time,* so I can get the doc to call it into another pharmacy... * ** * * * *

* *
__________________
"Coffee: the finest organic suspension ever devised." -- Kathryn Janeway
VoyT is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: Americans want universal health coverage
Old 06-09-2006, 12:25 AM   #25
Moderator Emeritus
Nords's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Oahu
Posts: 26,617
Re: Americans want universal health coverage

Quote:
Originally Posted by VoyT
Could be worse, Dood, I could be listing my 25 years worth of crappy service stories...
Oooh, me first! I actually expect "customer service" to fulfill both parts of their job description!
__________________
*
*

The book written on E-R.org, "The Military Guide to Financial Independence and Retirement", on sale now! For more info see "About Me" in my profile.
I don't spend much time here anymore, so please send me a PM. Thanks.
Nords is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: Americans want universal health coverage
Old 06-09-2006, 02:21 AM   #26
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
free4now's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 1,225
Re: Americans want universal health coverage

Quote:
The good part is they do 60 day supplies for the same co-pay as a 30 day supply at a regular pharmacy for letting them cut out the middleman and his profit.
I hate to say it, but I've had a bad experience with mail order prescriptions as well. I use a prescription shampoo. It only comes in one size bottle, which is considered a 30 day supply. I tried ordering a 90 day supply through my insurance company's mail order provider. They took the order, took my $20 copay, and sent me just a single bottle instead of three. Figuring out what happenned took lots of followup, but eventually I got someone who said that it was because my prescription was only written for a 30 day supply (with lots of refills). I asked them "is there any way I can confirm ahead of time that I'll get a 90 day supply when I order and pay for a 90 day supply?" Their answer: No. "Can you refund my money since you didn't send me the 90 day supply I ordered?" No... prescriptions are nonrefundable.

Next time I had my doctor explicitly write a 90 day prescription. Sent it in, and got another single bottle (30 day supply) for the $20 copay. I didn't bother following up that second time, I'm assuming they must just have some rule they can't send more than one bottle per order.

I considered reversing the charges with my credit card company, but decided it wasn't worth getting into a war with my health provider.

I went into the local pharmacy and found that I only pay $5 copay for a single bottle. So even if I had gotten the full mail order supply it still would have been more expensive.


The problem with privatized healthcare is that it's nearly impossible for the customer to shop around for the best deal. Unlike all other industries, healthcare providers charge you however much they see fit, for whatever they see fit, without much if any veto rights on the part of the consumer. Add onto that the insurance companies financial motivation to not provide what you pay for, and it's just bad new for the little guy. The only way to win is not to play the game.
__________________
free4now is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: Americans want universal health coverage
Old 06-09-2006, 05:13 AM   #27
Full time employment: Posting here.
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 557
Re: Americans want universal health coverage

Quote:
Originally Posted by dory36
I conducted my own study, and found that cruising boaters wanted free beer.
dory, your subset is too small. I conducted the same study last Friday night and the findings apply to the general population as well . I order to verify the findings, I've decided to continue my study tonight

On the universal health care, we are not, IMHO, ready for it at this time, even though it may be needed on many fronts, the cost is beyond our capabilities. A more uniform system should be possible, but I don't think we can get there with the leadership we now have.
__________________
uncledrz is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: Americans want universal health coverage
Old 06-09-2006, 10:33 AM   #28
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
ladelfina's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 2,713
Re: Americans want universal health coverage

Quote:
It appears that the pharmacies - at least our local ones - are severely limiting quantities of meds they are holding in inventory to cut costs, preferring to "almost just in time" inventory filling that takes a couple of days.
(laugh) WalMart & Costco are just getting up to speed with "almost just in time" inventory?

That's exactly how every little mom 'n' pop pharmacy (that I've been to) does it in Italy. If you stop by in the morning and they don't have something, they place an order with some local distributor and will have it for you later, quite often the same day.

Instead of appointments, the public health physician in our town has posted office hours one or two afternoons a week (I remember my dad in the US worked in this old-fashioned way). The doc is in neighboring towns (like 5-10 miles away) on the remaining days so if you needed to, you could go a bit out of your way on an 'off' day. It's just walk-in and first-come, first-served. (except for emergencies - we all waited patiently when someone came in with something in his eye that needed removing right away - both he and the doctor asked very politely if we didn't mind...). It takes however long it takes. I have the doc's home phone and cell phone numbers so if something really serious happened I could always call him. Hey, wait, that's almost like "Concierge" medicine.*

I haven't had any real health issues so far, but aside from the open wards in some hospitals and having to bring your own towels, soap and TP, the technical quality of care seems very good, from relatives' experiences. You do have to wait longer for elective procedures than in the private system, but the length depends on where you are and what you need done. You may be called in earlier than necessary and then have to wait. In their system the gov't. pays the hospitals by the day, so if there's an open bed they stick you in there as kind of a "squatter" so no one else grabs it until they're ready for your procedure some days down the line. My DH went in for lithotripsy (ultrasound bombardment of kidney stones) and was in-patient for 5 days: 3 before and 2 after! That's not perfect, either, but in the US, they would probably do it drive-through to "cut costs", whereas here they wanted to keep an eye on him to make sure there was no bleeding or other complications. One downside is that once a bed opens up, they can give you very little notice, calling you at 5pm and telling you to show up at 7am the next day or lose your 'place in line.' Doesn't seem to be a big deal as everyone just adapts and 'goes with the flow'.

Quote:
the cost is beyond our capabilities.
Untrue.

The US spends double (1/2 privately and 1/2 publicly funded) what other OECD countries spend per capita on health care, and many of these places do better than the US according to indicators like infant mortality, longevity and so forth.

We ALREADY spend public $ per capita equal to what they are spending in Switzerland or Japan.
Then we pay that much more again.
Then we look around and see that we are only covering 80% of the population, while they cover everybody.
__________________
ladelfina is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: Americans want universal health coverage
Old 06-09-2006, 11:00 AM   #29
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
cute fuzzy bunny's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Losing my whump
Posts: 22,697
Re: Americans want universal health coverage

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cool Dood
I seem to recall you had a few (probably exaggerated ) horror stories about e-mail customer service, too.
Email is worse than calling. Half the customer service emails I send are responded to that I have to call their 800#. Apparently the email people have figured out how to significantly reduce their work load. The only decent customer service I've gotten in the last couple of years has been from Leapfrog and from Canon, both of which responded admirably. Everyone else fell somewhere between 'inadequate' and 'useless'.

Quote:
For someone who seems to have a pitch-perfect memory of every subpar experience from the last twenty years, do you have any personal experience with organizing a customer service department, or a nifty approach that would resolve their big problems? Or do you have a dismissive one-liner that chalks it up to cheap, stupid, immoral companies and brain-dead corporate culture?
Now theres a nice constructive comment and question.

I provided customer service to hundreds of customers in my 20's when I was doing a couple of startups. I said what I was going to do, and then I did it. If I couldnt do what I said I would do, when I said I'd do it, I called or visited the customer and explained why, and made it up to them.

Later when I ran about 1/3 of the IT shop of a fortune 500 company, servicing approximately 110,000 users, hundreds of satellite offices, hundreds more of our customers with thousands of employees each, etc...I used the same formula to fairly good success.

Its not rocket science.

If I buy something and someone tells me its to be delivered on a certain day, either deliver it or call me and tell me what screwup happened and then make it up to me.

If I call your tech support for a product, I expect to get someone that is knowledgeable enough in the product to identify problems and solve them, or replace the product.

The formula I now receive ~95%+ of the time is to tell me what I want to hear to buy the product and then deliver it when you feel like it, if at all, and often not when the seller says they will, without any communications as to breakdowns in the process.

If and when the product develops a problem, wait 2 days to reply to my email that they cant resolve my problem in email. I then call to hear that they, like every other company on earth, are now experiencing an unusually high call volume! 20 minutes later, I get a guy in another country who cannot understand what my problem is or what I'm even saying, and knows very little about the product, but will read me a script of things to do that have nothing to do with my problem.

I realize that it costs time and money to communicate with your customer effectively. Whats galling is to watch companies pull up short on meeting their committments, fail to communicate at all, lose customers, then spend billions on incentives to get new customers on board.

I guess rolling this back to the original topic, what we can probably expect from universal health care is what we used to get from the old 'ma bell'. Satisfactory, relatively reliable service at a high cost with tons of bureaucracy and an "I dont give a crap about you" attitude. Hell, Lilly Tomlin is still around to do ads for them...
__________________
Be fearful when others are greedy, and greedy when others are fearful. Just another form of "buy low, sell high" for those who have trouble with things. This rule is not universal. Do not buy a 1973 Pinto because everyone else is afraid of it.
cute fuzzy bunny is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: Americans want universal health coverage
Old 06-09-2006, 11:08 AM   #30
Dryer sheet aficionado
AFloat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 42
Re: Americans want universal health coverage

Quote:
Originally Posted by dory36
I conducted my own study, and found that cruising boaters wanted free beer.
I'd vote for that but I'd rather have universal health care.

We get our perscriptions via a Canadian mail order co. with no problems and at half the US price.
__________________
AFloat is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: Americans want universal health coverage
Old 06-09-2006, 11:33 AM   #31
Moderator Emeritus
Martha's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: minnesota
Posts: 13,212
Re: Americans want universal health coverage

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cute Fuzzy Bunny
I guess rolling this back to the original topic, what we can probably expect from universal health care is what we used to get from the old 'ma bell'.* Satisfactory, relatively reliable service at a high cost with tons of bureaucracy and an "I dont give a crap about you" attitude.* Hell, Lilly Tomlin is still around to do ads for them...
Pretty much the same as we get from insurance companies.
__________________
.


No more lawyer stuff, no more political stuff, so no more CYA

Martha is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: Americans want universal health coverage
Old 06-09-2006, 11:37 AM   #32
Moderator Emeritus
Rich_by_the_Bay's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: San Francisco
Posts: 8,827
Re: Americans want universal health coverage

Quote:
Originally Posted by Martha
Pretty much the same as we get from insurance companies.
Nicely summarized.

At least Universal will be, well, universal.
__________________
Rich
San Francisco Area
ESR'd March 2010. FIRE'd January 2011.

As if you didn't know..If the above message contains medical content, it's NOT intended as advice, and may not be accurate, applicable or sufficient. Don't rely on it for any purpose. Consult your own doctor for all medical advice.
Rich_by_the_Bay is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: Americans want universal health coverage
Old 06-09-2006, 02:34 PM   #33
Full time employment: Posting here.
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 784
Re: Americans want universal health coverage

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cute Fuzzy Bunny
Now theres a nice constructive comment and question.
Maybe you were already taking this into account, but I didn't mean my comments or questions in a snarky way, although I realized afterward that they could come across that way. I guess I should really take longer and work on that clarity of expression thing.



Quote:
If and when the product develops a problem, wait 2 days to reply to my email that they cant resolve my problem in email. I then call to hear that they, like every other company on earth, are now experiencing an unusually high call volume! 20 minutes later, I get a guy in another country who cannot understand what my problem is or what I'm even saying, and knows very little about the product, but will read me a script of things to do that have nothing to do with my problem.

Christ almighty, the f'in day after I write that post, I have an urgent customer service need for like the first time in five years, and there's no response to e-mails or "live-chat," and when I call they're "experiencing a heavy call volume," even though the phone rang like ten times and I'm sure there's no one else who's calling now!!!!

I f'in give up....

This is insane, and I guess... I guess.... ok, gimme a break, and while you're at it pass me a tissue, this is hard to say.... I guess you were right!


(ah, I did get a bit of relief... I just got the e-mail response while previewing this message, and it hasn't been all that long. You can still have the point, although I don't feel all that hard done by in this particular circumstance.)
__________________
Cool Dood is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: Americans want universal health coverage
Old 06-09-2006, 02:57 PM   #34
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
cute fuzzy bunny's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Losing my whump
Posts: 22,697
Re: Americans want universal health coverage

Welcome to my world.

My wife has an alternative solution to the customer service problem: stop buying things!

As far as the universal health care, it does solve two problems for my wife and I: escalating costs for an ER and the problem of getting her health care when she decides she's had enough of working, since she has a preexisting condition that no insurer would accept.
__________________
Be fearful when others are greedy, and greedy when others are fearful. Just another form of "buy low, sell high" for those who have trouble with things. This rule is not universal. Do not buy a 1973 Pinto because everyone else is afraid of it.
cute fuzzy bunny is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: Americans want universal health coverage
Old 06-09-2006, 03:11 PM   #35
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 1,487
Re: Americans want universal health coverage

Quote:
Satisfactory, relatively reliable service at a high cost with tons of bureaucracy and an "I dont give a crap about you" attitude.
you have no doubt underestimated the latter two, and grossly overestimated the first two; with the insertion of "very" you've got the cost about right.
__________________
d is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: Americans want universal health coverage
Old 06-09-2006, 03:38 PM   #36
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
cute fuzzy bunny's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Losing my whump
Posts: 22,697
Re: Americans want universal health coverage

Quite possible.

Whats the other alternative? Health care only for the healthy and wealthy?
__________________
Be fearful when others are greedy, and greedy when others are fearful. Just another form of "buy low, sell high" for those who have trouble with things. This rule is not universal. Do not buy a 1973 Pinto because everyone else is afraid of it.
cute fuzzy bunny is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: Americans want universal health coverage
Old 06-09-2006, 03:54 PM   #37
Moderator Emeritus
Rich_by_the_Bay's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: San Francisco
Posts: 8,827
Re: Americans want universal health coverage

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cute Fuzzy Bunny
Whats the other alternative? Health care only for the healthy and wealthy?
You forgot "employed."
__________________
Rich
San Francisco Area
ESR'd March 2010. FIRE'd January 2011.

As if you didn't know..If the above message contains medical content, it's NOT intended as advice, and may not be accurate, applicable or sufficient. Don't rely on it for any purpose. Consult your own doctor for all medical advice.
Rich_by_the_Bay is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: Americans want universal health coverage
Old 06-09-2006, 06:07 PM   #38
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Midwest
Posts: 1,570
Re: Americans want universal health coverage

Quote:
You forgot "employed."
C'mon. You know better than that. Employment is no gurantee of medical insurance. In fact the big push these days is to cut cut cut cut cut it away. What they want is for people to me made to work and also NOT get any medical insurance associated with it. Red da papers lately? And then if one should get too sick or injured to work..well there goes your insurance model.
__________________
razztazz is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: Americans want universal health coverage
Old 06-09-2006, 06:51 PM   #39
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
maddythebeagle's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 2,450
Re: Americans want universal health coverage

Quote:
You forgot "employed."
and retired government employees
__________________
- Hurry! to the cliffs of insanity!
maddythebeagle is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: Americans want universal health coverage
Old 06-09-2006, 07:01 PM   #40
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Midwest
Posts: 1,570
Re: Americans want universal health coverage

Quote:
You forgot "employed."

and retired government employees
Yep.. My gov provided policy works fine. If "The System," starts giving me lip about a test I need, (I can tell they're squriming about what the insurance will allow or what they'll pay) I just pay for it myself. Go over everybody's head. Shoot holes in the Dr's misdiagnosis (every wrong and very expensive) at the same time. Everybody's a winner.
__________________

__________________
razztazz is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
AARP to Offer Expanded Health Coverage simple girl Health and Early Retirement 2 04-18-2007 05:59 PM
Continuous US health coverage while overseas? kramer Health and Early Retirement 13 02-05-2007 11:34 AM
Senator Wyden's "health care plan for all Americans" REWahoo Health and Early Retirement 81 12-19-2006 09:04 AM
Group health coverage for ER's? Cb FIRE and Money 40 05-31-2006 09:09 AM
The book, The New Health Insurance Solution Martha FIRE and Money 20 05-15-2006 11:16 AM

 

 
All times are GMT -6. The time now is 02:54 PM.
 
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.