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Payment Method for Health Insurance Premium
Old 02-17-2011, 03:39 PM   #1
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Payment Method for Health Insurance Premium

We have finally settled on UHC for our private insurance to replace COBRA.

I'm reading the application and it says if I won't agree to let them take out the monthly premium payments I will be subject to a $10 a month fee. That's an additional $120 a month! I have heard that it can be difficult to get these companies to stop withdrawing the money when you no longer want/require the service so I have never let them do it.

I'm wondering if other insurance companies require this? Anyone else encounter this with private health insurance companies??

THe more I get into this private insurance stuff, the more I see why people just take their chances and don't buy it.
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Old 02-17-2011, 04:05 PM   #2
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You can change the billing to quarterly and then you only pay $40 a year in billing fees if you don't want to pay with EFT. That's just the way UHC does things. Never had a problem having them cancel a policy and stop withdrawing from a client's account. Most companies charge a fee (usually $10) for direct billing instead of monthly EFT. Some don't charge for direct billing, usually BCBS companies in my experience...
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Old 02-17-2011, 04:21 PM   #3
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I am with GHI. If I want to pay monthly, they will charge me an extra fee. I pay quarterly via paper check and I do not get charged any extra fee.

Geez, I'd hate to have your fee arrangement.
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Old 02-17-2011, 04:23 PM   #4
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I have heard that it can be difficult to get these companies to stop withdrawing the money when you no longer want/require the service so I have never let them do it.
In the past I have changed my account number to solve this problem - a bit of a pain, but effective.
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Old 02-17-2011, 04:29 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Corporate ORphan View Post
We have finally settled on UHC for our private insurance to replace COBRA.

I'm reading the application and it says if I won't agree to let them take out the monthly premium payments I will be subject to a $10 a month fee. That's an additional $120 a month! I have heard that it can be difficult to get these companies to stop withdrawing the money when you no longer want/require the service so I have never let them do it.

I'm wondering if other insurance companies require this? Anyone else encounter this with private health insurance companies??

THe more I get into this private insurance stuff, the more I see why people just take their chances and don't buy it.
CO- I think you suffer from "Old School Disease". I still have it as I dont online bank. But I have had to change on direct transactions involving my account and they have always worked out. I even did my taxes online this year and the money made it into my account! Save yourself the money and do it their way as you can then use the leftover money to help pay for your next premium increase My Anthem required 1st payment credit card, but went to monthly snail mail billing since. I wouldnt hesitate to do it that way, but they havent asked me to. Besides if they dont quit billing you, just tell them you just got diagnosed with some rare high cost disease. That will get them to drop you fast! Hang in there, you got the worst part behind you now. Congratulations on your persistance!!!!!
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Old 02-17-2011, 05:52 PM   #6
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The reason they do it that way is that it is easy for them, no bill to send or check to deposit and account for. They can automate it an it never needs human intervention. If you want to send them a check it costs them to send you a bill and have your payment processed, so they pass the cost on to you. While $10 probably exceeds their cost, it also encourages customers to join the electronic program. I suggest you just go with it. My life insurance has been this way for years and it works great for me.
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Old 02-19-2011, 09:19 AM   #7
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Thanks for all the replies and suggestions. We will do it since UHC has the best rate and portability but from a separate checking account. That way if there is an issue we will just empty the account and don't have as much at risk. We do all the bills we can by e-pay but we control the amounts. I don't like a company having access to my banking account. Charter took our electronic payment once and then said we didn't pay, threatened to cut off our internet. They wanted a canceled check to prove we paid! (Hard to do when we didn't "write" one)

I did find this on our credit union site. It made me feel a little better. We won't wait until there is a problem though. We will tell the CU when we decide to end the policy.

"To stop an automatic debit to your credit union account, contact the company debiting your account and inform them you would like to stop the authorized debit. If, after your request, the company does not stop the debit, contact your local branch and complete an "ACH Stop Form" on the recurring debit. An ACH Stop is a legal document. Once signed and returned to the credit union, we will place the stop on the proper company."
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Old 02-19-2011, 09:26 AM   #8
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These aren't health clubs or diet plans, they are state regulated insurance companies. You will pay what you owe, and no more. If there is a mistake, you will get it back, or if they underbilled, they will get it back. I always pay insurance in these automated ways. If you forget, if you get sick, if you get hit on the head in an alley, you are still going to be covered.

Ha
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Old 02-19-2011, 10:00 AM   #9
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These aren't health clubs or diet plans, they are state regulated insurance companies. You will pay what you owe, and no more. If there is a mistake, you will get it back, or if they underbilled, they will get it back. I always pay insurance in these automated ways. If you forget, if you get sick, if you get hit on the head in an alley, you are still going to be covered.

Ha
Best reason to have it taken out automatically. Same thing with term Life Insurance. Many folks die with a lapsed policy, and the would be beneficiary finds out the hard way .

This exact situation also is one of the reasons life insurance is a very profitable business.
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Old 02-19-2011, 10:12 AM   #10
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Agree, but what ya doing in an alley?

Quote:
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These aren't health clubs or diet plans, they are state regulated insurance companies. You will pay what you owe, and no more. If there is a mistake, you will get it back, or if they underbilled, they will get it back. I always pay insurance in these automated ways. If you forget, if you get sick, if you get hit on the head in an alley, you are still going to be covered.

Ha
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Old 02-19-2011, 11:40 AM   #11
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I've had a couple problems with the "Automatic Withdrawal" from my checking account. It was Verizon's error. So I called and told them I would never have that faith in their system again. Took four months to get a refund check. I'm still with Verizon but I use online banking. I prefer this system because of the records. I just setup car lease with online banking and use the recurring payment method. Take out x numbers of dollars every month until but not after January 21, 2014. Very seldom write a check anymore.
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Old 03-19-2011, 09:32 AM   #12
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We applied to UHC in mid-Feb. THe agent had a clerical error and didn't get the application to UHC until 3/8/11. UHC has asked us some questions twice, made my DH get a CHO test and now we see they have posted the first month's premium to our credit card account. We still haven't heard yet if they are willing to take our money. ANyone know if this means they are and are willing to give us the rate that was originally quoted?? We asked our agent who is "checking on it". (I know he isn't very good.)

I will need to pay my COBRA premium next week and don't want to pay double for insurance for the month of April.
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Old 03-19-2011, 09:57 AM   #13
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We applied to UHC in mid-Feb. THe agent had a clerical error and didn't get the application to UHC until 3/8/11. UHC has asked us some questions twice, made my DH get a CHO test and now we see they have posted the first month's premium to our credit card account. We still haven't heard yet if they are willing to take our money. ANyone know if this means they are and are willing to give us the rate that was originally quoted?? We asked our agent who is "checking on it". (I know he isn't very good.)

I will need to pay my COBRA premium next week and don't want to pay double for insurance for the month of April.
Any way you can talk to them directly to get more assurance? I would want to make sure the companies left and right hand are working together, and not billing you, then rejecting you and refunding back the money (probably my paranoia). I got an email and a letter sent to me confirming last year that I was accepted by Anthem after I left my group plan. You might want to check with your current insurance company to see if you get 30 days to make good on a lapsed premium, to keep it in effect. I had that option. That way you could avoid paying double premiums until you get your confirmation, but still have security in protection. Someone else might be more knowledgable than me on this, it wouldnt take much, I'm sure!
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Old 03-19-2011, 10:08 AM   #14
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I have every possible bill posted to my CC account (points cash refund) and for those few that will not accept the CC, I'll have them do a direct pull from our joint checking, used exclusively for bill payment and under both our names.

Since I handle all the expenses/bills it's easier since I need write any checks (except for property tax) nor worry about postage or finding a place to mail the envelope (won't leave outgoing mail on our street mailbox).

I primarly started this when I retired, for two reasons. I previously just dropped off my mail in the company mailroom (no more of that ); the second was in case I would pass first, the bills would continue to be paid while DW "picked up the pieces" and decided how she wanted to handle it.

Since we travel quite often, it's also nice to know that we don't have to worry about missing a payment.

As far as the OP's comment - our medical insurance (from my former employer - we're pre-Medicare) comes right out of checking every month - with no problem. I also have a term life policy where if I make one annual payment vs. monthly payments (to my CC card), I get a slight discount since they don't have to process/mail monthly.

BTW, I still get a bill every month for every account even though the payment is mostly automatic. That's just a back-up for DW if I drop dead; she'll have a list of current bills being paid - and by what manner.
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Old 03-19-2011, 10:26 AM   #15
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I have heard that it can be difficult to get these companies to stop withdrawing the money when you no longer want/require the service so I have never let them do it.
My (disabled) son is on a Medicare Advantage plan, and the monthly preimum is taken directly out of his checking account.

Since he's been on Medicare (over seven years), we've had four different contracts since Medicare Advantage plans are not guaranteed for more than a year and often change, and have also changed due to better benefits with another plan. In each instance, payments were started/stopped by the appropriate company (end December/start January) with no problem.

Just our experience.
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Old 03-19-2011, 11:12 AM   #16
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Virtually all of my bills have been automatically deducted from my checking account for over a decade. There has never been a discrepancy. I do check my bank account online every day.

If/when you decide you no longer want automatic deductions, all you have to do is stop the deductions on both ends. By this I mean that you must:

(1) tell the insurance company you don't want the bill deducted from your bank account any longer, and
(2) arrange with your bank to shut off these deductions as well.

If you shut off the deduction at both ends like this, the process is easy and foolproof. It can take a month or six weeks to get it done.
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Old 03-19-2011, 11:20 AM   #17
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So, the OP's question was 'if they charged my credit card, do I have coverage?'

I have always heard that the taking of funds implies a contract. As you applied for a contract of coverage, you might be covered. Make a short phone call on Monday to your state insurance commissioner's consumer hot line. They can tell you what the state regulations require.

I hope that the credit card charge is just ahead of the members' welcome letter, and that welcome letter comes on Monday as well.

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Old 03-24-2011, 07:33 PM   #18
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I have BCBS for my insurance. I had two options of paying. Automatically withdrawal by my checking or through my credit card (I forget exactly the frequency). I chose to just have it monthly through my checking account as this seemed like a necessary payment I really really didn't want to miss
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Old 03-25-2011, 08:12 AM   #19
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I started BCBS 5 years ago, have always used ACH payments.

It seems that I remember that you are always paid up a month ahead not in arrears.
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Old 03-25-2011, 08:16 AM   #20
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We decided NOT to go with UHC after all (at least for now). THey put an indefinite rider on the policy for any intestinal issues due to a benign polyp being removed during our last colonoscopies in 2009. Now we are waiting for the packet to come so we can officially decline their offer (we'd like to see what they sent first.)

We currently have an application in to BCBS because our agent said they would probably take us and just charge us more. I didn't see an option on the application to charge our credit card for the monthly premium. I will have to check that out if we end up going with them.

This has been a real nightmare. I really think most people in this country would have trouble getting health insurance if they had to go through this. WE don't take any prescriptions, good CHO readings, normal weight and are healthy except for a minor issue now and then(we thought the polyp was minor).

Luckily our payment on the cc isn't due until 3/7. Hopefully, UHC will get the charge off of it before then. If not, we just won't pay it. Who knows how long it will take for them to take it off.
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