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CUNA Mutual advocacy group saves CU employees time money
MADISON, Wis. (9/22/10)--An employee benefits advocacy center established by CUNA Mutual Group for credit union employees needing assistance resolving insurance issues has reached $4 million in total savings since its inception. CUNA Mutual brokers group health insurance and other employee benefits programs to several companies. Ten years ago, it set up the Employee Benefits Service Center to help its Group Benefits customers resolve billing and claims issues, get questions answered and minimize difficulties that arise sometimes with insurance. The service center is a single, direct point of contact for credit unions and their employees to quickly and easily get information and assistance when they need it most, said Lynnae Cooper-Budde, director in CUNA Mutual's Group Benefits division. The center assumes the burden of resolving insurance issues. A team of four benefits specialists act as advocates for credit unions and employees by dealing directly with carriers and providers to resolve issues. "This saves time and money for credit union employees and human resources staff," said Cooper-Budde. "Our specialists know credit unions, the insurance industry and the ins and outs of carriers' policies and procedures. Leveraging that expertise, they negotiate with providers and carriers to reduce employees' responsibility through benefit clarification, claims reprocessing and written appeals. They also educate and train employees on products and plans so they're more knowledgeable about the benefits they have."
Jo Lynn Boggan of JSC FCU, Houston, turned to CUNA Mutual's Employee Benefits Service Center, which resolved a $500 health insurance claim on her behalf. (Photo provided by CUNA Mutual Group)
Jo Lynn Boggan, indirect lending buyer with JSC FCU, Houston, Texas, knows first-hand that insurance companies sometimes make mistakes. She knew her personal medical insurance claim wasn't being handled properly. The insurance company that CUNA Mutual brokered with to offer group health insurance was not covering the correct percentage of the bill--a difference of $500. After months of phone calls, paperwork and dead ends, Boggan was ready to give up her claim. Her human resources manager suggested she call the Employee Benefits Service Center. To her surprise, she called and spoke immediately with a person who understood her coverage. The CUNA Mutual benefits specialist, Sandy Melvin, took charge and pursued the claim. Ultimately, Boggan received the entire disputed amount. "Credit unions are experts at serving their members, not solving employee benefits problems," said Cooper-Budde. "Nothing is more frustrating and time-consuming than trying to decipher complicated forms, untangle billing snags or resolve rejected claims."
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