A $1,000 Typo

I resigned from BAE Systems on January 3, 2008. At the beginning of a year, it often takes time for people to adjust to writing the new number. Probably out of habit, someone somewhere wrote that I resigned in January, 2007. The computer at my medical insurance company Cigna got overexcited. It noticed that Cigna paid all my medical bills for 2007, a period for which, according to that creative but premature resignation date, I was ineligible. In its zeal Cigna retracted the money that they had already paid to my doctors for all of my 2007 visits.

In an instant, I became a delinquent; my doctor bills were suddenly more than a year overdue and my credit score probably plummeted. My taxes became suspect, too. I had claimed that I had medical insurance on my Massachusetts taxes, which now Cigna wouldn’t confirm.

While Cigna was racing to get their money back from my doctors, they conveniently forgot that I and BAE Systems paid a lot of money for their insurance. They didn’t hurry to return this money. At one point I was thinking I would be richer if I got back the money paid to Cigna for my insurance and paid the doctors myself.

I had a conference call among Cigna, my former employer and myself. My employer confirmed that I had Cigna coverage until January, 2008, but this was not enough. Cigna insisted that it needed “computer confirmation,” even though it was their shoddy computer work that caused all this trouble.

After many phone calls and conference calls, finally Cigna admitted that I am right and reinstated my medical insurance coverage for the year 2007.

Can you guess what happened next? I received a new bill from my doctor. Cigna reinstated me, but didn’t pay the money back to my doctors. Now there was another round of phone calls and conference calls.

As of today, the time and nerves I spent to resolve this issue exceeded the money Cigna owes to my doctors and I am still waiting for the money to be transferred.

If they are fighting so hard not to pay their debt of $1,000, I wonder about the financial situation of this company. I would definitely consider it very risky to buy Cigna stocks.



  1. Misha:

    Tanya it’s not that Cigna is fighting for every penny because it is poor. It’s the other way around, it is rich because it is fighting for every penny (just kidding ;-). Sorry about the mishap.

  2. SpeedKills:

    I feel with you! When I split up with TP, their machines issued 2 salary statements for my last year. As a side note, they were different! They payed only once, a fact I can live with. Not so my tax office. The added up numbers and wanted the tax difference. Even more, not believing in such a fantastic salary increase just for the last year, they wanted the tax difference for all prior years too. It took several months to settle that matter. I feel with you!

    Nevertheless, Misha is right. From all what you said, Cigna is a strong buy 😉

  3. Tanya Khovanova’s Math Blog » Blog Archive » Misunderstanding between Databases:

    […] wrote a story a while ago about how a clerk at my previous job mistyped my resignation date, substituting January 2007 for my real date, January 2008. As a result, my medical insurance provider decided that I wasn’t covered in 2007, and […]

  4. Tanya Khovanova’s Math Blog » Blog Archive » Adjustments to Medical Bills:

    […] once wrote a story about a mistake that my medical insurance CIGNA made. They had a typo in the year of the end date of my insurance coverage in their system. As a result […]

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