Retiree benefits corner

Cynthia Crawford, director of donor education

Recently my spouse had routine blood work done to monitor his health status for consistency. You’ve probably had similar health care. Both times the company doing the lab work submitted the bill to our insurance, it was denied because the lab work ordered was inconsistent with the diagnosis coding. That meant we had an unanticipated bill of nearly $400 to pay the company doing the lab work and that amount didn’t apply to our deductible, either. The health clinic said the lab company miscoded information and the lab company said the health clinic was at fault.

It was great to discover the Benefits Advocate office on campus. Active employees can call the Human Resources Service Center at 573-882-2146 and retirees can call 573-882-9810 to ask questions or set up an appointment. Perhaps, like me, you don’t live in Columbia. I wrote a detailed letter, made copies of pertinent information and sent the information to Woodrail Centre, 1000 W Nifong, Building 7, Ste. 210, Columbia MO  65211-8220.

Total Rewards has two benefit advocates in the Columbia Human Resources Office. Laura Turner and Stephanie Harrison are the benefit advocates for current faculty, staff and retirees.

Benefit advocates provide customer support to retirees, faculty and staff for Total Rewards issues including benefits, retirement, compensation and wellness. Their primary focus is handling requests concerning enrollment in or changes to benefit and retirement programs, and provide detailed guidance and information regarding insurance plans, including health, dental, vision, life insurance and long-term disability. Benefit advocates can assist with claims resolution, vendor contact and interface.

How did my issue resolve? A few days ago there was a check waiting in the mailbox after work. The stub said, “refund on a bill for laboratory services performed.” I looked at it and thought, “Here’s money for one month of groceries.” I am convinced the coaching from benefits advocates made a positive difference in the outcome.