It's not my habit or even inclination to write about local or state issues. I usually try to leave that to those who have the interest and, frankly, the connections. As the editor of Another Opinion, I try to keep the focus on the "big picture"; national and international events which affect everyone. I least of all like to write about myself. To be honest, I don't think I'm that interesting. But I must make an exception this time. This is a personal story which has to be told, not for my sake but the sake of others affected by Kentucky's health exchange, KYNECT, which has often (and erroneously) been billed as "America's Model Health Exchange" by former Governor Steve Beshear in response to the Affordable Care Act or as it's more commonly called, "Obamacare"; the healthcare law that isn't. This isn't my first go around with KYNECT, only the most recent. I will try to avoid using identifiable or real names of those I've dealt since many, if not all, are still employed and I have no bone to pick with any of them or desire to cause them harm in any way. Most were simply trying to do their job to the best of their ability and simply either lacked the proper training or authority. However, it was the system itself and the bureaucracy built around it which plays the primary role as villain in this little drama. So, with further ado, let's begin.
On March 2nd, I called an explained the situation again to the poor unsuspecting customer care representative who had the misfortune to answer the call. She reviewed the notes in the system and refreshingly admitted that this was above her head and then politely asked if she could place me on hold while she spoke to her supervisor. Jackie. No problem. I explained to Jackie the situation and my justifiable frustration. Jackie said she had reviewed the notes and thought she understood the problem and had a possible solution. According to Jackie, either the system or someone, had entered our annual income into the wrong column. The yearly income, based on my wife's part time job, was mistakenly shown as our January 2015 income. This automatically kicked us out of our insurance plan and into a supplemented insurance plan, at least for a few weeks when the mistake was probably caught by someone reviewing the data. The system showed that we were placed in plan which showed no income for January 30th to February 1st, and then back into our original plan starting February 2 through the rest of the year. Confusing, but at least we had an explanation. All that was needed, according to Jackie, was to transfer me to the folks who handled 1095A forms and have them zero out the January 1st through the 30th. That would automatically generate a corrected 1095A form and would generate a correct 1095B form. Jackie also said she would make sure this would be amply detailed so everyone would know what happened. Hallelujah!
On the morning of March 17th, I received a phone call from Jeanette at KYNECT. Apparently she must work in the 1095A department since she said he supervisor had asked her to call me and see "if I really wanted to have the 1095A form corrected". What? I asked Jeanette if she or her supervisor had read the notes, and she said her supervisor had but was wanting to know if I really wanted to do this? She went on to say that their system showed that we didn't qualify for the program we were in due to our "substantial income for the month of January 2015" and that's why we were placed in the other supplemented insurance plan which generated the 1095A. I think that for a moment I was actually numb. How could this be happening...again? Didn't anyone actually read the notes? Why were they just now working on this---10 days later? I explained as rationally and briefly as I could what the error was and what had been done, but somehow I don't think I was getting through. In her eyes, I was making the claim that their system was wrong; it was flawed, but I suspect she was thinking that it was I who was wrong.
Immediately, I gathered up all my documentation and notes and called KYNECT. Enough was enough. The unfortunate soul who answered for KYNECT was Jaz. She dutifully asked for my claim number and then...silence. I think she was just as stymied by all the notes as I was in knowing where to begin. As I started to explain, she very politely asked to place me on hold while she spoke with her supervisor. After a brief hold, Jaz came back on and in a refreshingly honest tone said that this was over her head and recommended I speak with her supervisor, and so I spoke with Dannie. Dannie introduced herself and asked if she could place me on hold for a few minutes while she read all the notes. "No problem" I said. I let her know that I wanted someone who knew the facts before we went any further. After about five minutes, she came back and said she had read through the notes. She asked if I had ever been referred over to Community Based Services (CBS), which oversaw our insurance plan. I said no and she said that she hadn't seen anything either. She explained that she understood everything that had happened but was flabbergasted that I hadn't been referred to CBS since they had oversight over our plan. She went on to say that only CBS could make the correction which would then flow over to KYNECT's 1095A and B departments where new forms could be generated. Until CBS made the change, the system would keep editing out the corrections and perpetuate the original error. This was now March 24th and I had started the process on February 15th. I had wasted weeks of effort.
On March 30th, I was pleasantly surprised with a call from the Kentucky Cabinet of Health and Human Services. After a bit of clutter about what their system was still showing, etc, I was able to explain what had happened and needed to happen. I was told I would need a special letter of exemption, which she would discuss with her boss about providing. However, she never had heard of a problem quite like this before and acknowledged that she didn't know what, ultimately, they could do. I was promised a call back as soon as she knew something. I was hopeful that this bureaucratic nightmare was about over but I knew better than to get my hopes up again, and as it turned out, I was right.
I asked how we was assigned the new provider and was advised that either I or someone else had selected them since the system doesn't automatically assign individuals (at this point, I don't think they know what the system actually does and doesn't do). I reminded her that I hadn't contacted anyone at all with KYNECT in 2015 and I keep very detailed notes of my dealings with KYNECT. They had caused me enough problems once before, in 2013, so the less I had to deal with them the better as far as I was concerned. So, apparently someone at KYNECT---perhaps that same minimum wage summer help---made the selection for us. As for backdating the system to correct them original program, they can't. There is no mechanism in the system to allow this type of correction. After nearly two months of dealing with this so-called "health exchange model", I was stuck with their mistake. No ability to correct data errors. No letter of exemption. No letter acknowledging their mistake. Nothing.