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"Hello, This Is Peggy..." Who Knew US Health Insurance Companies Have Peggy From The Philippines On The Payroll?

Blue Shield of California recently closed its last California call center located in Northern California. With no warning and no explanation, all phone calls from doctors and hospitals were re-routed to call centers in the Philippines. Trying to get patients' medical bills paid has always been difficult, but now that Peggy and Pebbles and Bepper (Pepper) are answering the phone, it is next to impossible. The language barrier is significant and the customer service deficit is serious. These workers are trained to deny and delay legitimate payment, by any means necessary.

Offshoring and outsourcing are not a new phenomenon with U.S. health insurers. Every major health insurer in this country participates. Cigna, Aetna, Health Net, United Health Care, Anthem Blue Cross, Blue Shield, etc., have all shipped American jobs overseas by the thousands and they continue to do so on a daily basis.

Health care premiums go through the roof every year and your health insurer becomes richer and richer, and a big part of the profit comes from firing American workers and replacing them with poorly trained foreign workers.

Don't like American jobs being sent to the Philippines, India, Pakistan and Canada? The jobs that have traditionally supported American families are still disappearing, even in today's anti-outsourcing environment and America's insurers play a big role.

Foreign Nationals Don't Just Get American Jobs, They Get ALL Of Your Personal Information, Too!

In order to answer questions about your medical bills, "Peggy" has to have all of your personal information, such as your name, address, phone number, social security number, employer, health history, diagnoses, medical treatments and much, much more.

Because I am a health care worker in the U.S., I am bound by all of the privacy laws that protect American patients. If I, as a Patient Financial Services analyst for a hospital, breach your information, I can and should go to jail. If, however, I am "Peggy" in the Philippines and I steal your identity or use your medical information in some nefarious way, I will not be punished. The U.S. has no enforcement powers in the Philippines, India, Pakistan or Canada.

Outourcing Means No Privacy Protection

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Comment Preferences

  •  Jeebus. Why am I not suprised. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    if a habitat is flooded, the improvement for target fishes increases by an infinite percentage...because a habitat suitability index that is even a tiny fraction of 1 is still infinitely higher than zero, which is the suitability of dry land to fishes.

    by mrsgoo on Thu Jun 28, 2012 at 07:52:06 PM PDT

  •  Blue Double-cross is a dick company? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tripodisblack, Jillian Barclay

    Not news to me.  I dumped them 28 years ago.  

    Trouble is, the health insurance companies are all pretty much the same.  It's unrealistic to expect good customer service from any of them.  They don't think of you as a customer, just a revenue stream.  They don't care if you die; they just care if your dying costs them money.  Get used to it.  Oh, and don't expect the ACA to make it  better.

    Private health insurance: a protection racket without the protection.

    by rustypatina on Thu Jun 28, 2012 at 07:59:47 PM PDT

  •  Blue Cross or Blue Shield of California? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    VClib, SingleVoter, Jillian Barclay

    Shield and Cross are different organizations in California.  Blue Cross of California is owned and operated by Well Point.  Blue Shield of California is the DBA for California Physicians Service, a not for profit.  Last I checked Blue Shield of California has a pretty big call center in Lodi and there are departments in BSC's Redding, El Dorado Hills, Woodland Hills and San Francisco offices that primarily take calls from customers or providers.

    •  Check again- (0+ / 0-)

      Shield and Cross are different companies in Ca- They were split years ago because they were considered a monopoly (too big)-
      Redding is the call center that closed. They handled the out of state BC/BS clients who had services in Ca-- El Dorado is now manned by the Philippines (stoploss claims), too, as well as eligibility,  etc...

      The provider reps and network managers are still from the US, but the provider call centers are not- I have wondered about the customer call centers because the customers get angry when they find out that their accounts are handled overseas, so instead of calling the provider number, tried the customer number- you are right, some are U.S.- I think it is pretty damn sneaky and underhanded...

      Also, it is now rumored that Anthem Blue Cross is processing claims overseas--the U.S. employees at BC have had to sign confidentiality agreements about the claims processing  in order to keep their jobs...

  •  Outsourcing was expected with the 85% (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Jillian Barclay

    Medical Loss Ratio minimum and therefore 15% expense/profit cap.

    American Peggy at $12/hour is going to get replaced by $2/hour Phillippine Peggy or Indian Irene so $10/hour/clerk more can come to the 1%.

    Executives come first and shareholders second, insureds third, and low-paid Americans are shown the door and left poor.

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