Dear United Healthcare:
Last week I received a very thoughtful invitation from Secure Horizons, your local affiliate, offering me the chance to contact them if I had any questions concerning the Part D prescription supplement program they offer for Medicare enrollees. These invitations are printed on card quality stock approximately 7 inches wide x 18 inches long, with a double-fold. They are professionally designed and produced, and printed in full color.
Senior citizens have a reputation, I’m afraid, of putting things aside and forgetting where we laid them, only to find them a day, a week, or a month later at the bottom of some pile or other, so I thought you would like to know that Secure Horizons circumvented this problem by mailing me 15 copies of this invitation. They all arrived the same day, and they were all addressed in the same style: Mrs. SoAndSo. Not Mrs. WhatsYourName SoAndSo, just Mrs. SoAndSo. I admit I haven’t always liked my first name, but I finally got used to it, so I was a little disappointed that apparently your clerical staff assumed I didn’t have one.
Perhaps this is the place I should add that I’ve been a member of your health plan since May this year. Oops! Those 15 invitations really should have gone to 15 other 65+year-old persons who may be looking for a supplemental D Medicare plan, not me. They might have made 15 different people feel favored and special.
I probably shouldn’t worry about clerical excesses, but I thought I should bring it to your attention that, at about the same time, I read in the Wall Street Journal that your past CEO, William W. McGuire, M.D., earned a whopping $1,600,000,000 (that’s $1.6 Billion in case I didn’t put in enough zeros, I never could get used to so many) for the year 2006. As I did a little research, I found that he also earned $124,000,000 in 2005, and for the prior five year period he was paid $341,000,000!
Now I understand that Dr. McGuire graciously offered to return $200,000,000 in stock options because they were linked to the backdating stock options scandal that caused him to resign in December last year. I mean, he had a cushy little thing going there, no? I’m also pleased that current CEO, Stephen Helmsley, is seeking to make further amends by returning $190,000,000 in unrealized and realized gains. Everybody needs to tighten their belts and pitch in, right?
I’m so glad to know all these things that give me a better picture of the insurance industry. They sort of explain why Secure Horizons turned down my prescription at the drug store several weeks ago. It was for a three-ounce tube of cortisone ointment offered as an alternative to an in-office injection in my knuckle. I can still buy the ointment without insurance, but it will cost $50/$60, and I can’t afford it. I suppose if it gets so bad that I can’t dress myself, I’ll opt for the injection and hope by then, your CEO would have recovered from all those stocks returns.
But, hey, look at it another way. I’ve just charitably donated $50/$60 in milk money (since Secure Horizon didn’t have to fork it over for my benefit) in case United Healthcare should need it more than I do. While I appreciate the 15 invitations you sent to make sure I knew what your part D supplemental plan looked like, may I suggest that you could also save a few dollars there as well? By checking your membership list before mass mailings? So much more environmentally friendly, don’t you think?
Just one more thing, if I send all these invitations back, since as I pointed out before, I’m already a member (until next year anyhow), could you recycle them? It really would be a more efficient way to do business.
Mrs. SoAndSo in Utah