Tuesday, February 15, 2011


One of two pages sent in every correspondence from Anthem

Dear Sir/Madam,

Recently, you were kind enough to send me a letter indicating that you were terribly sorry to have to raise our health insurance premium again, especially given your dedication to providing excellent service to your clients. The increase of 39%, you stated, was due to rising costs and in no way reflected your corporate culture to, again, "provide optimal health benefits to your subscribers." Yesterday, I received a Statement of Benefits Claim from your central offices, probably the thirtieth or so in the last six months. I should stress that each of these Statement of Benefits is NOT for a separate medical claim; many are doubles and some are erroneous. However, each of these statements of benefits is accompanied by two other pieces of paper, once of which I've included here and a blank envelope. The two pieces of paper are not personalized but are, rather, standard Notice of Language Assistance papers. As you might know by now, since we have been your clients for nearly five years (and for ten years before that under a different plan), we need only get information from you in English, the primary language spoken in our home. While I appreciate your efforts in cultural competency (I have actually done a bit of work in that area myself and it's GRAND to see how it's being taken up by private enterprise), I imagine you could stop sending me that extra paper and the envelope (I'm not certain what its use is) and thereby curtail some cost. It also might lend some credence to your claim that you are constantly raising premiums due to rising costs, thereby improving our relationship and perhaps making it less antagonistic. I'm not sure how many persons it takes to gather all this paperwork, collate it, stuff it into envelopes, stamp and mail it or whether this is all done by machine, but given the other inefficiencies of your organization, I imagine you might save a bit of cash if you eliminated some of this paper. Perhaps you could use one of your sophisticated computer programmers to tag a client with his/her language and then send the necessary information in that language only, saving the two pages of Notice of Language Assistance for your new clients (those lucky enough to be signing up now for your excellent service).

In the meantime, I am making quite a stack of recycled white paper on which to print out my memoir, some of which, I'm sure, will pertain to our relationship over these many years.

Elizabeth Aquino


  1. I suspect you're talking to a computer, Elizabeth. They're not so so good on the subtleties of communicating with real people.

  2. Waste is now another word for "rising costs". Not to mention bonuses and a ten million dollar salary, should we?

  3. It would do the environment a favour too, save quite a few trees! Jen

  4. Would you consider leaving Anthem and getting a different insurance carrier for Sophie? I know it would be another ins company and still have the same hurdles, but perhaps you could save some money on premiums by seeing some other plan choices (maybe check out their drug formulary) and switch.

  5. amen to this. AMEN. I receive Anthem claim documentation EVERY DAY. Often, more than one. There may be several in one envelope, which might suggest efficiency, but don't be fooled. If there are six claims in one envelope, I will get 18 pieces of paper. I get the multiple language explanations SIX times in one envelope. For every claim I keep one piece of paper and recycle two others.I suggest they allow us to access all of it online. Don't mail me any of this crap. I keep what is pertinent, just in case, and I have files full of these things that I don't know what to do with. Frankly there are so many that if I needed a specific one I would probably have to ask them to send it to me again.

  6. An increase of thirty-nine percent? I'm so stunned that I can't think of what to say.

  7. I get the same two extra pieces of paper every time from them as well and it drives me nuts. Keep one, recycle two, keep one recycle two is what repeats in my head as I open those envelopes. Had the most frustrating conversation with them yesterday -- they made me re-submit a claim because it was for Abe, not Abraham and they don't have Abe in their system. She couldn't change it on her computer..I had to go and copy the dang thing and mail it out again. I read and file every personalized piece of paper from them in monthly folders by year because I often have to go back and reference them. And I'm complaining about the small stuff. 39% increases when the drugs Sophie needs aren't even on their formulary -- those are enormous problems. So sorry Elizabeth!

  8. It felt so good to read that. Even if nothing gets done about it (and, of course, nothing will), it just feels darn good to hear you let 'em have it!

  9. I'd like a copy of your memoir--in English please.


  10. I'm with Magnolia, that was so fun to read. I'm actually printing it out in case I need to use it as a template for future communications with my insurance company.

  11. I love every single thing about this post except that it had to happen. It makes my blood boil at the evil corporate monster, but it makes me cackle in a way that is all about, "You tell em, sister." This post is poetry.

    I love it like that poem about the plums, so sweet... this is just to say...I love it.

  12. My insurance company has most certainly take a few years off my life. Hmmm, perhaps that's how they get rid of us pesky sick people.
    I feel your frustration. Thank you for sharing it.



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