I feel compelled to respond to the Jan. 16 news article “Customers fume as Blue Cross scrambles” to ensure that our customers have accurate information. And they’re entitled to have an accounting of how we’re working to address our customer service challenges.
All customers who completed their enrollment in a Blue Cross plan for Jan. 1, 2016, and made their required payments, are covered effective Jan. 1. We will process all claims under their policy’s benefits retroactive to this date, regardless of when they receive their ID cards. They will not experience any gaps in coverage due to our service challenges.
Additionally, the technology we are using to process enrollment information is neither new nor untested. The company has been using it successfully since 2014 in other areas of our business. We thoroughly tested it in preparation for ACA enrollment. In fact, the migration of customer accounts other than ACA plans was more than 99 percent accurate and on time.
As any prudent company would do with any significant technology transition, we prepared back-up plans to help ensure that we could quickly correct any enrollment errors that were made. There is more work to do. Our customers continue to experience long hold times. Over the past two weeks, we have built capacity to assist customers by expanding customer service staff and extending hours.
Our online resources at BCBSNC.com contain answers to many of the common questions for which people have been calling. Most customers can visit this website to print a temporary ID card.
Clearly, our execution has fallen far short. We have made mistakes that deserve criticism. For example, we had forecast and expanded staff for a 40-percent increase in calls over last year’s peak month, rather than the 500-percent increase we experienced.
While these issues are important to address, the story created even more confusion by misleading our customers about their coverage and our ability to fix the mistakes that worry them.
We are sorry for the inconvenience and frustration this has caused our customers. We know that our customers expect and deserve a higher level of service, and we are working around the clock to meet those expectations. Updates on our progress will continue to be posted at blog.bcbsnc.com/updates.
Executive vice president, Chief Operating Officer, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina
The length limit was waived to permit a fuller response to the article.