About 13,000 people with accounts in the Washington Healthplanfinder insurance exchange were sent emails Monday that indicated a payment of their monthly health insurance premium had been made automatically. There was one problem. In many cases, many of them saw three times the correct amount deducted from their bank accounts.
To make matters worse, some consumers who tried to log in to their Healthplanfinder accounts to check on the payment could not get in. And those who tried to call the exchange’s call center had to endure hold times as long as 79 minutes.
“We’ve been swamped with calls,” said one customer service representative on duty Monday night.
“We are working closely with our system integrator, Deloitte, to reverse the incorrect withdrawals as quickly as possible, but no later than the next 48 hours,” said Richard Onizuka, CEO of Washington Health Benefit Exchange, which operates Healthplanfinder. “We have notified affected customers of this issue and will provide final confirmation when the payment issue has been resolved.”
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According to Bethany Frey, spokeswoman for the exchange, this latest glitch was caused by a coding error that affected accounts in which a change or correction had been made in the amount to be invoiced.
Frey noted that some consumers may not see the payment deducted from their bank account until Wednesday or Thursday. “We will work with customers to cover any overdraft charges incurred as needed,” she added.