I called Kaiser Permanente Membership Services regarding a contract change which was extremely time-sensitive. Translation: I had only a day or two to ensure some contract changes that would save me some money on my sky-high monthly independent-contractor health care dues. One more translation: I am a little old nanny, and what I pay in monthly fees could feed a small nation. Okay - more like a village.
I called the # offered. After a 22-minute wait (love that Muzak!) the bored Kaiser-person said I needed to call another #. Long story short but not so sweet, I was on the phone for most of an afternoon, being transferred from here to there to some planet far, far away, and nothing was resolved.
I decided to take an (unpaid) morning off of work to venture a trip to the Kaiser headquarters in Rockville, Maryland. When I arrived, it became clear where all that money hundreds of thousands of us send monthly is going. The place is castle-like in size and appearance; fortress-like in security. A security guard informed me that I was not allowed to go up the winding staircase to the membership offices to request help. Would he deliver a letter to them? No, not allowed. It seems he was not authorized to leave his post.
"Did I come to the CIA instead of Kaiser?" I asked. No reply. Not authorized to joke, I guess. I was told to wait, and a Kaiser representative would be down to talk to me. I waited. And waited. It was better than being on the phone, because I got a break from that damn music.
The upshot: I left. I had reached my humiliation quota for the day. On my ride home, all I could think of was all the money I have sent them throughout the years. And how a good customer like myself is treated. And deep regret that because our health care system is so unfair, an honest working person should be subjected to this kind of treatment. And deep compassion for all the other Kaiser Permanente customers who share my frustration and disillusionment.
UNION CITY, CALIFORNIA -- I own a business and recently switched to Kaiser for me and my employees' medical insurance. These are a few of the things that happened in the first one month that had me regret my decision to move to Kaiser: 1. Kaiser did not send any information about how to access account to the members. I, the group admin, had to send multiple emails to get the membership id information. However, when it came to billing, the first month premium was immediately charged to my account. The members were not able to avail any healthcare services for one month because they did not have any clue about how to take an appointment with the doctors.
There is no way to contact them outside business hours, not even to make payments! There is just one phone number for customer support and that too has very restrictive hours which makes it hard for someone with a full-time job. 3. I did not get any information about how to set up account for online access. Neither did I get information about how and where to send payments. 4. The notification of the first bill came on two days after the bill was due! How is anyone supposed to know that the bill is already due if the notification comes later than the due date?
There is no way to reset password online for group administrators. You can't even check for email responses without logging in! This is too much restriction in the name of security. This is so ironic because when I called an operator reset my password and told me the password over phone! What kind of security is this when you can't reset my password online and a live person can just speak out the password over the phone!
The website is really very difficult to use. The navigation controls are tedious and non-intuitive. It is very slow and does not provide information about how to pay bills. I hope this review helps you make decision on choosing the right medical insurance plan.
SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA -- My wife and I are life long Kaiser members and medicare part d participants, so you can imagine the shock we experienced when we learned that we can (and now do) get all of our prescriptions filled at either Costco or Walmart.
When I filed a grievance, Kaiser responded that these stores charge lower prices to get customers "in the door". Is not Kaiser getting millions in medicare part d funds? I am going to list the specific drugs my wife and I use; the price comparisons are based on prices quoted by Kaiser, as well as prices we are now paying at Costco. We require medications for blood pressure, diabetes and cholesterol. Keep in mind that any customer at Costco can get these prices; no special membership is required other than what all customers are required to do to be eligible to shop there: please note that all drugs are the same dosage, and same quantity.
Price comparison of prescription drugs at
Generic drug Costco Kaiser difference
1) amlodpine 8.32 19.80 11.48
2) Lovastatin 10.83 20. 9.17
3) Glipizide 14.36 20. 5.64
4) Metformin 6.60 20. 13.40
5) Atenolol 6.50 10. 3.50
6) Lisinopril 7.91 19.60 11.69
Please note that with items 1,4 & 6, the Kaiser charge was twice what Costco charged.
MENLO PARK, CALIFORNIA -- I applied for Kaiser's health insurance at the beginning of January 2009 with the intention of starting health coverage at the beginning of March, however now I don't believe that this will happen.
I wasn't very happy when I found out that I needed to fill in a 20 page health questionnaire when I started the application process online, especially since I had never had to do one with Blue Cross, but I pushed through it anyway. I finally got to the Women's health section of the application where they asked when was your last period. Since I am on Depo (birth control shot who's side effect is stopping a woman's period) I answered truthfully with September 2003. Of course this pulled up all kinds of red flag warnings on the site, it then asked me why which of course I answered with "taking Depo".
I didn't hear anything from Kaiser for almost a month and when I went to check my application status online it just said 'processing'. I finally received a phone call from someone at Kaiser (9:00 at night) asking me, once again, when my last period was and what medication/birth control I was on. Finally I received a letter from them, basically implying that they didn't trust me and that I would have to go down to one of their lab facilities and take a pregnancy test, before they would consider my application.
Oh and they apparently only gave me two weeks to complete this from the date that the letter was written (one week and one day from when the letter was actually delivered) or they would figure that I was pregnant and they would throw away me application.
My anguish is over the fact that if they were actually medical professionals then they would know that one of the side effects of taking Depo is that you do not receive your period and that if I had been pregnant since September 2003...I would be DEAD (with a 5 year old inside)! Even after I take this pregnancy test, they can still deny me...a perfectly healthy 25 year old with no prior medical problems...WTF? Just because I am on birth control? If you apply to Kaiser just know that you might be in for a very long, hassled time!
If I were well enough I'd leave, maybe go to a country where they care MORE for the patient than the DOLLARS they save. Kaiser is awful... Period. I have a disease called Dystonia. Kaiser knows I've went from a ladies petite size 14-16 TO a size O in like 7 months. No appetite, that fluid BURNS too INSIDE. Kaiser knows I'm dying too. They call ME once a week, EVERY week, just to check in. Why? I'm not sure. They can't help AND won't, but they'll plague you by phone for NO reason.
**, my case "pacifier", blamed everything on the docs. Does Kaiser MAKE their employees STOOP that LOW ? With-Hold CARE and TELL you WHY you cannot GET any help...know why??? Well.. there never was HELP, only EXCUSES, bottom line IS money, money, money. The doc in Denver did an ILLEGAL "Huntingtons Chorea" test WITHOUT my signature too!!!! ** said it was OK. Sign AFTER the test, yea right. They, being Kaiser, bugged me so much about signing the paper AFTER that test.
Their nit wit in Denver called himself and said neg. on that. ** on behalf of Kaiser ASSURED me there'd NEVER be the Mayo Clinic. NOT one of their "flunky" doctors could EVER do the Mayo referral? I now consider those calls "Harassment". BECAUSE months go by and no one gets IT at Kaiser OR they really DO NOT CARE. The Mayo Clinic was brought up by 3 or more Dr's BUT not a one filled out the Correct FORMS, and Kaiser is SO HAPPY.
I look like a walking skeleton! I mean, come on, this IS heartless. My belly button leaks clear fluid that gives me second degree burns! THAT surgeon that DID this doesn't care. He laughed! YOU Kaiser should have fired the doc.
Kaiser assigned a "Case Mgr." for me. That was infuriating. All she did was run me and my husband around in circles and spout LIES. Doctors won't and don't treat you IF you have Kaiser. I'd bet they get 'kick-backs' for NOT taking tests and lab work. They are blatantly letting me die. The case mgr. TOLD me the Mayo would NEVER occur.
** here in Co. Spgs. would tell me numerous times that SHE was faxing OR mailing TESTs & the RESULTS to various doctors. THAT never ever occurred. She DOESN'T have access! IF Kaiser sends you out of town to another city, then that is called "Out-of-Network." Meaning "out-of city", or out of FRANCHISE area. Kaiser IS franchised OUT.
So, the owner of Kaiser Permanente saved a lot of dollars not footing the bill for the Mayo. It means my life so I hope the OWNER here in the Springs in Colorado IS VERY HAPPY. Your little FRANCHISE in the RED or what?
My life is nearly gone. I didn't know if I'd have the strength to type 1/10 of this tale nor if this makes sense to the reader. I hope I got my message through.
Four kinds of Dystonia, three of which are brand new plus an open navel that LEAKS from a surgery done around 10 yrs. ago. The surgeon hates me because I didn't sue my M.D. 'Kaiser Permanente', you ARE THE joke of the health care industry. 'Kaiser is Franchised too. Thanks guys, I DO like this site.
BAKERSFIELD, CALIFORNIA -- The doctors at Kaiser are great, but service overall is terrible. Getting on the phone with member's service is a nightmare and then try getting an appointment with your doctor, if you don't mind waiting 6 to 8 weeks, then you're good to go. I have to say it use to take 2 to 3 weeks. I tried getting an appointment with a specialty doctor, not a problem 7 weeks out. I called a non-Kaiser doctor and got in the next day. I only had to wait 30 minutes to see the doctor. This doctor was very informative. Kaiser what happen to the great service you use to have?
DENVER, COLORADO -- I could not be happier. I had a suspicious lump. Was seen on Monday by my NP. On Friday I had a mammogram with US. They didn't like what they saw ash called a physician immediately who did a biopsy. The following Monday I had my diagnosis. 15" later I received a phone call to schedule MRI. 15" after that I had an appt with the surgeon. MRI the Monday 2 weeks later followed by surgeon appt that Friday.
Surgery the following Thursday, lumpectomy with sentinel nodes. Pathology back on the next Monday. Again, within an hour I got an appt to schedule a visit with an oncologist on Wednesday, 2 days later. Oncotype testing sent day before oncology appt. Already set up for consultation with radiation oncology in one week. Will start treatment by end of month.
In short, diagnosed on 3/6, surgery on 4/2 and start treatment after healing beginning of May. That is record time. All along the way everyone, and I mean everyone, has been kind, informative and helpful. Phone calls promptly returned, questions answered. I really could not have asked for more!
DENVER, COLORADO -- My wife and I have been a members since age 64, now 72. Every year we spend hours on the phone trying to get all the forms needed to renew. Mail and E-mails warnings (of over due payments) flow all year, 2 invoices each month and 3 weeks later the 2 automatic mail payment acknowledgements along with corresponding Emails. If you go for anything you get 5 pages in the mail of useless information. Why aren't the forms online, why do they keep giving me California 800 phone numbers? When you call they say your not known to them and then they realize your from Colorado and give you a Colorado number.
I had to renew a prescription using their website and it was not listed correctly. Opted to send an inquire to the pharmacist using the link provided. Had to remove and send it. KP does not believe in punctuation. You wonder what the intent is when they ask you what meds your taking and your heath background. Are they cutting out the doctor. And no I'm not breast-feeding, don't they know I'm a 72-year-old man? All our prescriptions are 30% cheaper using local pharmacies except for one. Perhaps this is how they fund their web incompetence.
LAFAYETTE, COLORADO -- Kaiser is great in many areas. My 1 star rating is for their weight management and customer service group. They are not equipped with fluoroscopes to do lap band fills so they have to guess. If you get sick and come back the next day because they put too much in, they charge you again. Today, they did nothing but tell my wife to go to their downtown office where they have more equipment than Rock Creek and charged $50 dollars.
The doctor and customer service both agree there should not be a charge because they did not do anything, but neither knew how to fix it without a formal 30 day complaint. This is very poor care and bad process when no one can make a simple charge correction and force me to have spend 1+ hour on the phone explaining the same thing to multiple people. Go somewhere else for lap band care - even without insurance the fee for a fill is less with better care.
CALIFORNIA -- If you are diagnosed with Sleep Apnea Kaiser only covers the treatment if you are on the $5.00 or $10.00 copay plan. If not you are out of luck. The equipment costs around $1000.00 and I can't afford that. Untreated sleep apnea can: Increase the risk for high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, obesity, and diabetes. Increase the risk for or worsen heart failure. Make irregular heartbeats more likely. Increase the chance of having work-related or driving accidents. Sleep apnea is considered a serious medical condition. It is unbelievable to me that treatment isn't covered under all Kaiser health plans.