Sigh.  I think it was Wageworks that originated the “Things that Suck” category here. I posted about it a while back.

Worth a read.

The year after that post, we switched our family to a high deductible health insurance plan, and so we used a HSA, not an FSA. I mean, technically we still had the FSA. The bribe money paid to us by Nationwide to do their bidding would go into the FSA, but if it didn’t get used, I didn’t see it as a huge deal because it wasn’t MY money. It was like a bonus. If Wageworks did their job, great. If not, it wasn’t worth the headache. And so I’ve largely ignored their existance for the last few years, and happily.

The HSA has been administered by Schwab. Schwab is crazy in that they think we are adults. See, they let me log on to my account with them, check my balance, and then ask to transfer money to my checking account. I was responsible for maintaining receipts and making sure that I was only requesting money for IRS approved things. Me. Not them. I didn’t have to mail them anything. We’ve been happy like this for a while now.

This year, Nationwide decided to switch HSA administration to Wageworks. They don’t issue cards, you have to call and get one. I called to get one. The barely sentient person who answered the phone asked if I wanted a replacement card. No, I said, I wanted a card, period. He argued with me about that for a while. Then we determined that I, as the dependent woman, was not allowed to request a replacement card. Since having Randy call was not an option (the man WORKS, people), I asked what were the other ways we could access our money. He told me again that I could not request a card. Three times we did this, then I asked if there wasn’t someone else I could talk to. He put me on Mute, instead of transfering me. After I asked if he could actually transfer me instead of just popping me on mute, he came back and told me to wait quietly. I hung up and called back.

This time, I pretended I was Randy and requested a card with no problems using their automatic system. (I didn’t actually lie, I just had to put in his SSN instead of my own.)

But I’m not sure whether the card pulls from our FSA or our HSA, or both, so I needed to find out about that. I called back, got another no-brain. Turns out, when you call customer service, you actually don’t get customer service, you get, I don’t know, some other department first. This person quickly transfered me to customer service. The CS woman could not just answer my question, she had to lecture me again about how I could not request a card, even if my husband told them it was OK.

Then she said that this was because of HIPAA. It’s not. (It’s NOT! Really. It’s just their internal policy, which is fine, if that’s their policy, it’s their policy. It’s stupid, but fine. But don’t hide behind HIPAA. It’s like when hospitals try to make their policies sound like they’re Federal law. The card does not contain, nor can it access, any health information, it is merely a debit card.) So I said that it wasn’t HIPAA, it was just their policy, which was fine, etc. etc.

She said “Please remember this is a RECORDED phone call.” (note: I had not until this time been told my conversation would be recorded, a violation of an ACTUAL law.)

OK, and what does that have to do with anything?? And if it really IS HIPAA, then they are in violation, because their automated system has NO way to prohibit nonauthorized persons from requesting a card.

She did finally answer my question, after three phone calls and a total of 45 minutes either on hold or talking to them.


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