by Al Sabado
I should have ended my relationship with Maxicare the first year I tried it as my healthcare provider in 2010. But I gave it a second chance—big mistake—that only confirmed my earlier notion never to hire this HMO1 again. The following list only includes a few of my unpleasant experiences while using it.
“Ma’am, labas po kami diyan (Ma’am, we’re out of that [mess]).” Hearing this statement from a Maxicare hotline representative surprised me. In my mind, I could say that this young person was not given the proper training due every personnel representing a big company. I was, at the time, reporting an incident that took place in the dental clinic accredited by Maxicare. As a customer, I expected this HMO would at least notify its accredited dental clinic of the incident. My report was that a visitor was allowed to enter the small clinic and chat loudly with the head dentist, while the other dentist attended to me. I went to this ‘private’ clinic hoping that I could receive the dental treatment with ‘privacy.’ I discussed the matter with the attending dentist. But I was unhappy about it and so I still reported the incident to Maxicare.
OK, fine, you're out of that mess. But couldn't you at least respond in a way that empathized with a dissatisfied client? No, I didn't verbalize that. But I took pity on the Maxicare hotline representative that I felt obliged to teach her a bit of customer service, something like this: Kindly tell the customer instead, “Ma’am thank you for your feedback. We will do our best to notify the concerned clinic about the matter so that such incident will not happen again.” Because the fact is that, that clinic is Maxicare’s partner in providing its members—just as it claims—healthcare at its finest. Definitely, Maxicare is part of the equation should any customer complain about its partner in providing unsatisfactory healthcare services.
Mishandled request. Months before renewing my Maxicare individual membership, I requested the department in charge to remove from my package the dental services because my personal dentist does not use Maxicare and other HMOs (I now understand why). The request was sent (that is, using “cc”) to all people concerned. Lo and behold, I was still charged the dental services the time I renewed the membership. So I called the Maxicare department and reported the matter. Guess what, another young staff member on the other line replied saying something like, “Ay, rebate na lang (Oh, we'll just issue a rebate).” And so I said something like, “I don’t want a rebate. I want my money back—now.” I should have asked for a full refund. But I just asked for the excess payment to be returned to me as soon as possible.
The department head did not even apologize for the error. Instead, she made an excuse saying that there was miscommunication with the information provided to her by her staff. I thought, “Did she just ditch her staff?” As the department head, she should know better. And if you’re the boss, you don’t ditch your staff in front of your client; you hold yourself accountable for their error because they're part of your team.
Tampered data. As a freelancer-taxpayer, I request for the OR3 of every item or service that I purchase, and so I requested for my OR from Maxicare. Upon receiving the OR, I noticed that a different TIN2 was affixed under my name. And so I reported this again to Maxicare and inquired whose TIN was printed on my OR. I told them that I was uncertain how such information would be rectified, but that I wanted to make sure my personal information with them was accurate and safe. I was just told that they would look into the matter. They probably did just that because I did not hear from them again regarding the tampered data.
Inefficient service. This year, I called Maxicare again to request for a schedule of my annual physical examination. Four people attended to this simple request, and each of them requested for my email address—over the phone. Of course, they had to verify if they heard it from me correctly, and so they recited “alpha-lima-shera” etcetera. Finally, I sent them my last email saying, “. . . Ilang beses nyo hihingin ang email ng client nyo sa telepono (How many times will you ask for the client’s email over the phone)? That's not efficient. You have your database, please use it.” I suppose Maxicare does not welcome feedback from clients, and so instead of a human response I received an automated note from its postmaster saying, “Delivery has failed to these recipients or groups.”
From experience, I regret to say that Maxicare Healthcare Corporation has failed to match its slogan, “Healthcare at its finest.” I am just relieved to know that my relationship with it is finally ending. I will still say that hiring an HMO is OK for corporate accounts. But for individual accounts, it's better to save the money and let it earn interest in the bank, just as my dad advised me to do.
I will then follow my dad’s advice and trust in God’s protection. God willing, I will continue my annual physical exam with a reputable clinic nearby for either PhP700 (regular package) or PhP1,400 (with eight basic tests). I sighed thinking about the two consecutive years I paid Maxicare thousands of pesos for its minimum healthcare package. But the good news is that God is still the One providing and caring for us.
1 health maintenance organization
2 tax identification number
3 official receipt
16 December 2011, Friday