I almost cried when I heard the words: “Relax. The big boys are on your side now.” (More)

Humana. It ought to be a four-letter word, and certainly when I say it, I spit it as if it tastes bad in my mouth. I have been fighting with them for over two months now. I lost count of phone calls. I have a list of employee names and their ID numbers. They made promises that were not kept. A few weeks ago I thought I had settled the problem.

On May 5, I awoke to an e-mail from Humana thanking me for making my payment. I don’t owe them any money until June.

I developed an annoying habit a while back of calling Healthcare.gov over every problem I was having with enrollment and with Humana. It turns out it was a good thing I did.

Because when I got that notice of a bill (which didn’t say for how much) I went to look at my Humana account and discovered they are still billing me for the policy I never enrolled in.

The whole problem began when I checked out a Humana policy at Healthcare.gov. I didn’t finalize my selection, but somehow Humana got my information and enrolled me effective March 1. I found out about this when I got a bill. Thus began the endless phone calls. Humana said they couldn’t cancel the policy unless Healthcare.gov told them to. All I could do was not pay the bill.

Healthcare.gov told me not to worry. If I didn’t pay the bill, they assured me, then I wasn’t enrolled in that policy and could select the plan I really wanted.

Then the policy for the plan I didn’t want arrived in the mail. It clearly stated that if I didn’t want that policy, I had to send it back within ten days. I did. I called Healthcare.gov to let them know what happened. They assured me I could just ignore the bill. As long as I hadn’t paid Humana, I wasn’t enrolled in that policy.

So I chose the policy I wanted, with an effective date of May 1. I even paid the first month’s premium. Then when I called Humana about my premium on my chosen policy, they said I would have to pay the two months for the cancelled policy as well. I hit the roof. I finally got escalated to an employee who assured me this wouldn’t happen.

Well, it did.

I was livid. Yet again I called Healthcare.gov and explained what was happening. I had reached Mr. Green, who said, “That’s a big problem. Let me pull up your records.”

He pulled up a record of every call I had made to Healthcare.gov. Yes, they had a record of every single call. “It’s quite clear,” Mr. Green said, “you never intended to enroll in that plan. We’ll take care of this. It’s not right that they’re back-billing you for a plan you cancelled and never enrolled in.”

So all those phone calls I made, and all those notes made by diligent employees at Healthcare.gov, came to my rescue that morning. As did Mr. Green, who filed an escalation containing all the salient information, and assured me this would be dealt with in 30 days.

I asked him if I should try to call Humana again.

“Usually that’s where we’d ask you to start,” Mr. Green replied, “but looking over your record I can see you’ve called them countless times. So just let us handle this. Relax. You’ve got the big boys on your side now.”

Sweet words. Wonderful words. Relief. Thank you, Mr. Green, and all the folks at Healthcare.gov who took my dozens of calls and documented every single one. The folks at Healthcare.gov have always been helpful, patient and reassuring, but this time they were magnificent.

And this is one of the primary reasons we need the ACA. We are no longer standing alone against the behemoths of the insurance industry. The really big boys are on our side now.