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Consumer

Covered California May Not Keep Track Of Complaints From Consumers

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Julie-Watts_BIO-HEAD Julie Watts
The recipient of the Emmy and AP Awards for Best Reporter, Julie’s...
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SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) — Covered California, the state’s insurance exchange under Obamacare, has been riddled with problems since its inception last year.

The exchange has insisted it is working to fix problems, but KPIX 5 ConsumerWatch has found that Covered California may not even realize the scope of what needs to be fixed since the agency isn’t actually tracking complaints.

More On Covered California Issues:

The rollout of the insurance exchange was a huge undertaking and everyone anticipated there would be some problems as the agency tried to sign up 1.4 million Californians.

“Covered California is committed to take steps to make the consumer experience better.” Covered California spokesperson Dana Howard told KPIX 5 earlier this year.

But KPIX 5 heard from hundreds of consumers who had complaints about Covered California’s website, customer service issues, and delays in coverage to lost applications.

When we brought the problems to the attention of Covered California, it learned that the agency itself isn’t tracking complaints.

In response to a recent public records request made by KPIX 5, the agency said it had no records of complaints regarding customer service issues.

In the past year, KPIX 5 had heard a litany of complaints from consumers about broken promises.  Most of the newly insured consumers complained about “bait and switch” tactics when they discovered many doctors listed on Covered California’s website weren’t actually accepting their policies.

Some consumers said they couldn’t find a doctor even after scrolling through three or four pages of doctors on the Covered California website that were listed as “in-network.”  Others found that the only doctors accepting new patients were in Urgent Care clinics in crime ridden neighborhoods far from their homes.

Despite being told about these complaints, Covered California spokesperson Howard denied knowledge of the scope of the issue.

Howard: “Our failures?”

KPIX 5: “Lost applications, inaccurate provider directories, lack of doctors, significant IT problems, poor customer service. These are all things many would deem failures.”

Howard: “I don’t know who the ‘many’ would be”

KPIX 5: “Certainly the consumers who contact us.”

Howard: “Unfortunately, people will experience some difficulties.”

The agency did admit to KPIX 5 that it is now directing complaints about insurers to the Department of Managed Health Care, which does track complaints.

Covered California said while it may not track complaints it does “evaluate every input it receives from consumers.”

 

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