Daily Archives: October 25, 2011

Quality Control Rant

Quick rant here… I’m currently pretty steamed at our medical benefits provider.

We’re in our Annual Enrollment period right now. Only 3 days left to decide which of 3 options is going to cost me the least next year.

Our provider provides a calculator that I found to be of immense help last year. It models the costs for the coming year based on plan prices and custom data I provide for what I think I’m going to need coverage for next year. Last year I was surprised at how much I could save by switching to the plan I’m on now. It was a great help.

Next year, the plan I’m in now is raising its deductible enough that it could make one of the other plans cheaper. So I went back to the calculator. At a quick glance, it looked like the plan I’m in now would still be cheaper. Woo hoo! On with life.

But wait… just before I closed it I realized the numbers were wrong. It was using the deductible amount from this year, not next year. Then looking at it closer, I realized the prescription drug calculation was wrong too. The cost for brand names was inflated.

So now I don’t have a clue which plan is appropriate for my needs. And I’d wager that hundreds of other people at my company are making decisions based on bad information without even knowing it. That’s just completely unacceptable to me.

Where is the quality control for the group that’s publishing this calculator? Did anybody test it? When I started looking at it from a testing perspective, the errors were blindingly obvious. You could be forgiven for not noticing it as a user, but if even one person tested it and missed this, they should be fired for negligence.

And what’s the response going to be now that I’ve pointed it out? Are they going to fix it? Probably not – at least not in time for the end of our enrollment period. I recognize that the branding cost error could be a coding problem that’s difficult to locate, but the deductible error should be a simple fix of a constant.

Quality Control is important! If you’re providing an automated service, make sure that service works correctly and provides accurate responses – especially if its guiding people in decisions affecting thousands of their dollars.

Not. Happy.