Fired worker, WA Health Benefit Exchange at odds over progress

Fired worker, WA Health Benefit Exchange at odds over progress

Credit: KING

Washington state's health exchange, Washington Healthplanfinder



Posted on December 23, 2013 at 9:34 PM

Updated Wednesday, Dec 25 at 2:46 PM

SPOKANE, Wash. -- Monday marked the deadline to apply for health care through the Washington Health Benefit Exchange and one insider said the call center is far from on track.

A representative at the Washington Health Benefit Exchange told KREM 2 News on December 24 after the initial interview with the insider that the insider was fired three weeks ago.  The representative did not disclose the reason for the termination.  However, the insider told us he put in his two weeks notice and resigned after working for the call center until Dec. 23.

The insider told KREM 2 News on Dec. 19 the exchange center changed their benefits policy last week, months after workers signed the contract. The insider said at the time that he currently worked for the call center and asked not to be named.

He said the company is behind on helping people apply for health care and asked employees to work no matter how well they feel. 

“There are people that have been working sick to the bone and they’ve asked for the day off,” he said, “They’ve said no ‘otherwise we’re going to have to let you go.’”

The insider, who began working during the summer, said a new agreement disbursed last week requires two days notice for employees to call in sick. 

Leaders at the Health Benefit Exchange denied the allegations.

In a statement they said, “Last week employees at the Washington Healthplanfinder Toll-free Customer Support Center were asked to acknowledge a standard time and attendance policy that was previously provided during orientation this past summer.”

The insider said the new contract caught him and others off guard.

The statement from the exchange also said, “Claims that employees are required to provide advance notice for sick time or that they will be let go due to using sick time are inaccurate."

The insider also said the call center’s performance has not improved since the open enrollment began. 

“We have so many untouched paper applications, it’s beyond ridiculous,” he said.

Health Benefit Exchange leaders said they have made improvements to the website and are signing up more people each month.  They said 20,000 paper applications were processed in the last three weeks and there is no backlog.    

This insider argued that he wants to work in another part of the health care industry because he has had to turn away too many people. 

“It burdens me that I have to tell people no, more often than I can say yes,” he said. 

A representative from the Washington Health Benefit Exchange later told KREM 2 News on Dec. 24 that everything the insider told KREM 2 News was factually inaccurate.