A man who briefly worked for a company owned by Lowe’s is at risk of losing his current medical insurance after finding out that the home improvement retailer took out a health insurance policy in his name after he stopped working there.
The Seattle Times has the full story of the 47-year-old, who has spent the last year trying in vain to get anyone at Lowe’s to explain what happened and — more importantly — fix the problem.
Back in July 2015, the man left his job at Nordstrom. To make sure he had healthcare coverage, he purchased a COBRA plan that would extend the insurance he’d received from Nordstrom through Jan. 2017.
He then briefly took a job at Lowe’s-owned ATG, leaving that gig in Jan. 2016. During his exit interview, he says the human resources people confirmed that he had not been signed up for any sort of healthcare coverage during his short time with the company.
Fast-forward to July 2016, when he finds out after a visit to see the doctor, that he not only had the Aetna-administered COBRA plan he knew about, but that there was a Blue Cross Blue Shield health insurance plan from Lowe’s in his name and Social Security number.
Then Aetna found out about the Lowe’s plan and determined that it should not have covered any of the man’s medical bills after Jan. 2016, when the Lowe’s coverage kicked in. The Blue Cross Blue Shield plan covered those reversed payments and told the man that their records indicate he is an active employee at Lowe’s.
But not only was he obviously not a Lowe’s employee, he didn’t show up on the BCBS active employee list until a month after he’d left the company. He was also now on the hook for portions of his medical bills that the Lowe’s BCBS plan didn’t cover.
The man says he repeatedly tried to reach ATG and Lowe’s through official channels — phone calls, emails — and through social media, but the company refused respond to his requests for information or to resolve the error. He had to contact the Washington state Dept. of Labor just to get his former employer’s attention.
Yet even now, ATG will only tell the Times that the company’s “HR team is helping him with that issue.”
Beyond the health insurance issue, he’s also curious if Lowe’s is mistakenly listing him as active employee for other benefits.
“[A]m I enrolled in an employer-sponsored retirement plan, am I enrolled in any other type of insurance? Legal benefits?” he explains to the Times. “I want to know where my Social Security number was used, what accounts were established, the status of those accounts, and I’d also be curious to know if anyone accessed those accounts.”