EECB Scores Direct Hit On United Heathcare, Corrects $700 Billing Error

Nick was tired of getting the run around from his insurance company, part of United Heathcare, over frequent (and pricey) billing errors.

He didn’t think it would work, but he launched an EECB (Executive Email Carpet Bomb) anyway…

Nick says:

For the last 8 months I’ve been submitting claims online to United Behavioral Health (one tentacle of the evil squid that is United HealthCare), for out-of-network service that I’m supposed to get partially reimbursed for. When they don’t go through, I have to call customer service, talk to one of their incompetent reps, be patient while they act like I’m the one who did something wrong, and then wait even longer for my eventual payment. There’s absolutely no reason for this — nothing complicated about the claims, they’re the exact same kind that have been reimbursed before — except, of course, that no insurance company ever wants to pay anyone anything ever. I don’t think I need to elaborate any more than that, since it’s the same crap that everyone with insurance goes through.

Anyway, last week I got another one of these EOBs that claimed I was owed exactly zero percent of the several hundred dollars I’d spent. This was even more frustrating than usual because I’d had an expensive month and could really use the money. So, rather than spending time at work on the phone with another prickly-yet-stupid CSR, I decided to check Consumerist to see if there was any executive contact info for United HealthCare.

And there it was!

I fired off a non-threatening but firm email to the CFO, COO, and Senior VP/Treasurer in which I told them what was happening and that from now on, I would be corresponding directly with the three of them about any such issues rather than waste time with their phone support. While it was a satisfying note to write, I didn’t really expect anything to come of it. After all, these are some of the most senior people in charge of screwing customers, so they have more incentive than anyone to ignore me.

But lo and behold, I checked my claim status online the very next day (in fact, the same day they would have received the email, since I sent it on a Sunday night) and my reimbursement status for my most recent claim had already been modified. I figured the check would still take a while, but hey, at least I didn’t have to get on the phone. Wrong again! I got my checks in the mail yesterday, only a week after sending the email.

And yes, you read that right — CHECKS. A total of three. Not only did they reimburse me the proper amount for my most recent claim; they even sent me EXTRA MONEY from previous claims that they realized they’d screwed me on. Rather than get a couple hundred dollars in exchange for hours of bureaucratic frustration, I got almost $700 for a single email that took me three minutes to write. Frankly, I’m still in shock. If the EECB can get United HealthCare to voluntarily cough up money I didn’t even ask for, then its powers truly are limitless.

Thanks for posting that contact information, and for all the other valuable services that Consumerist provides.


Good work, Nick! Sometimes all your problem needs is a little TLC from someone higher on the food chain. For more information about launching your own EECB, click here.

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.