I mean the company is not evil. This German Company has lost
is telephone business investments in the USA because the Germans do not
understantd the American Marketplace. This is both the consumer
marketplace and the employee marketplace. They actually believe
that people leaving the company are doing so out of bad faith to their
employer. Siemens did not understand that this is a two way
In any case, in an effort to minimize employee benefits, Siemens has
hired the most incompetant and malicious retirements benefits
company for servicing its benefits. This means an ongoing
war to claim your benefits. Many people give up. This is to
Siemens benefit. I have called the Department of Labor twice but
always too late. Next time they get called first. They have
asked me to tell Siemens how bad they are. I shall attempt to do
this with this document since all of the contacts that I previously had
available are gone.
Siemens Corporation, or at least the division that I worked for in San Jose, contracts with Hewitt Corporation to administer its benefits program. Hewitt may have some saving graces. They will never display any. It appears that either Siemens is totally incompetent or is malicious in hiring Hewitt to do this. That Hewitt is malicious is not in question. There are many examples of this. What does Hewitt do? Hewitt accepts money from employees, current and retired, and money from Siemens and pays insurance companies and money funds for 401k accounts and pensions. It does this in a manner taking advantage of Internet technology not as a tool for the employee but as a means of isolating its illegal behavior from access.
Illegal behavior? Hewitt finds ways to assure that employees are not able to obtain their earned benefits. Hewitt does this in a collection of mechanism all intended to isolate responsibility from themselves or Siemens Corporation.
The easiest to describe is that Hewitt has a call center available as the ONLY means of communication with them. You cannot email Hewitt You may not FAX Hewitt. You may only call Hewitt during banking hours.
Moreover Hewitt rotates the person that you talk with so frequently that a problem cannot be handled. Each call restarts the problem resolution process. Requests for a supervisor just gets you a person other than the one who answered the phone. No additional continuity or authority resides in the new person.
The Hewitt concept of 'resolution' means that they have discovered a new way to deprive you of benefits. They will never leave you a phone mail message except when demanded and they only message they will leave then is that there is a resolution. This means that you must restart the problem process.
They will send letters stating a 'resolution'. Again the only resolution is to cancel benefits.
It is not possible to maintain benefits without a high stress level and getting multiple people involved. This means government authorities, such as state insurance commission offices or federal pension administration people.
Any call to Hewitt will get a person who will either tell you that everything is OK or needs further investigation. A new letter denying acceptance or stating cancellation will arrive in the next two weeks. This letter will state that it comes only after "multiple attempts to contact you have gone unanswered". This is always a lie since they never attempt to contact you since this would result possibly in a positive resolution. Hewitt cannot let this happen.
This commentary is not the result of a single action by Hewitt. Hewitt has for the last 5 years managed a program of harassment and alienation of persons: myself and others.
For example, when Siemens brought Hewitt on some years ago and the pension plan was abandoned in favor of 401k contributions, Hewitt generated a web page which intentionally overstated benefits under the new plan. Under the old plan also. I had gone through the process of requesting benefits numbers for almost a year before they did this. The previous mechanism was to make a phone request punching a lot of numbers and waiting for mailed table of benefits. I had supplied a good combination of these papers to know what my choices were when I retired.
When Hewitt took over, the numbers were almost random depending on many factors of input to their table but the numbers were never matching the Siemens handbook or the papers that I had. Multiple calls to their center led me to believe that they had no idea of their mismanagement. Multiple hours on the phone to the company that Siemens had hired for the transition and with Hewitt people, finally got Hewitt to understand their errors. But no quantity of calls could get them to correct the errors. I know many people who have retired believing the Hewitt calculations only to discover that their benefit payments are less than half that promised. Never more than promised.
But that is pension and I dealt with that by ignoring their numbers -- I had the real numbers from the handbook and the original mechanism. I took the lump sum option to avoid future problems with Hewitt regarding my pension. Moreover, Hewitt refused to permit partial withdrawals or scheduled withdrawals from my 401k. I was required to roll it over to get partial withdrawals. EIther that or as they stated: wait 5 years for their methods to catch up or me to die.
But this does not resolve the health insurance problems. These there are no way around. The harassment here is unending. My doctors ascribe my diabetes to high stress. I am retired, the only stress that I have is with my insurance coverage -- which Hewitt constantly attempts to cancel.
Three years ago, after I terminated employment, Siemens changed my termination date from January 15 to January 1. They did this without informing me. This was malicious on the part of Siemens Human Resources. Malicious because I had surgery and had received medical equipment during those two weeks. Suddenly these items were not covered by my insurance -- I had none. It took a couple of months to discover that they had done this. The discovery was a pile of unpaid medical bills. This could have been resolved with some expense from me. Unhappy expenses but much better than paying the doctors, suppliers and hospital. I sent money to Hewitt for COBRE coverage. You know, the insurance coverage that you can pay for that matches your employers insurance. This is a federal law and cheaper than anything else available. My benefits coverage had to be applied for and would take a couple of months. Another way to deprive me of my benefits.
I paid the COBRE dollars to Hewitt. They did not pay Lifeguard. I have paid Hewitt monthly ever since then. Every month something. Whatever they claimed was my monthly payment has been made on time every month since I retired.
After almost a year of hassling with Hewitt and Lifeguard, Lifeguard went out of business. The hospital was paid and the doctors were paid most of their money and were nice enough to write off the remainder. The medical equipment for $900 was not paid by Siemens not Hewitt. After many calls and letters, Siemens paid the $900 for the equipment. A year after the problem and continuous phone calls and letters.
During all of this time, Hewitt received and cashed my monthly checks. When Lifeguard went under, employees, but not retirees, were informed to make early annual insurance changes. A friend informed me of this and I called Hewitt. Hewitt stated that I was included in this early change but that I should call again in another week. I did so. I was then told that I should call back in two months -- the normal annual change date. Suddenly my monthly bill went from $120 to $550. Hewitt claimed that I did not call back on time to make the early change. It took another 6 months to get them to reverse the $550 dollar charges as they eventually listened to my various phone recordings and discovered that I had done as I needed to do. This second incident again caused me high stress.
But nothing compared to this year and the end of last year. This has been going on for 5 months now. Longer than that but I did not know it. Every month a bill is sent to my Berkeley address. Every month my bank sends a check to Hewitt. The bank check amounts vary according to what I owe but since it takes two months to get mail from Berkeley and it takes almost one month for Hewitt to send a bill, by the time I see a problem, three months may have gone by. Hewitt has a secure email box but refuses to use it for these purposes. In fact the ONLY thing they will do is send their standard 'resolution' message -- denying benefits without telling you.
So in January, I noticed that my bill showed a debit balance. Because I know that Hewitt will try to force errors on the account, I keep a credit balance of a month in the account. When the credit exceeds a month, I decrease my payments.
You know the federal law that went into effect this last year prohibiting insurance companies and banks from filing by Social Security number. So, Hewitt started requiring a logon name other than Social Security number. They had always required Social Security number previously. Now they let you choose your own unique account logon. I chose "________". No problem. I informed the bank by Internet that the account number had changed so the new name was now printed on the checks. This made sense and I never did like the Social Security number on my checks.
But this created a problem. Did Hewitt tell me? No. They never tell you. They just cashed the checks and did not apply them to my account. This created a debit balance which I caught in January. Early as it turned out. I immediately called Hewitt: the person I talked with said he would investigate the problem and get back to me. This was a lie on two counts. No investigation occurred and no attempt was made to contact me.
In February I started again. More aggressive this time -- I would call them back. I have learned over the years to not show anger at the person at the other end. The call center person is not responsible for company practices, legal or not. Taking out frustration on the person on the other end only eliminates any possibility of help. So many additional calls.
I have now called them every couple of weeks since February. It is almost May. They have threatened, and indeed actually did, cancel my insurance at one point. When they figured out they had a problem, the insurance was reinstated. They never solved the problem so now they have sent another cancellation notice. This notice one week after the person I talked with had again told me that everything was settled. In fact the call before that informed me that we were up to date. That call was to a 'supervisor'. So now it starts all over again.
Check copies have been faxed from my bank. Hewitt knows they have the money. Hewitt just likes to see how much trouble and how many more layers of isolation that they need to protect themselves from a growing number of retirees.
This time I have had to notify the California Insurance commission which will call the Federal Offices in San Francisco. This shall not occur rapidly but it shall occur.
My last call was Thursday, April 21. This time a supervisor told me that of the 5 checks sent to them this year, they had only received 2 and 1 had been returned to me. This is known to be a lie as the previous conversation had the customer service person read off 3 checks that they had cashed. She also acknowledged that one check that had been returned to me was indeed registered properly when re-issued to them. I cannot afford a lawyer to handle this but that is the next step if the Insurance Commissioner does not act fast enough.
It turns out that without any notification to me (and probably no other retirees) that there is an account number on the monthly bill that they use if you include the bill with your monthly check. It is hard for me to believe that I am the only person who sends bank checks. Hewitt is the ONLY company receiving paper checks rather than EFT payments that I have encountered in the last 10 years. I again presume this is primarily for harassment purposes. It certainly is expensive for Hewitt to manually read every paper check and file it into their system and then cash it. This certainly is indicative of the 1960's. Today most places cannot afford the personnel to deal with thousands of paper checks every month. But expense is not the issue here -- alienation of employees is the issue and Hewitt wants to do this rather than continue to pay benefits to retirees.
So on the latest call; I was informed that I must include this bill statement (or a copy of it) with each check sent to them. In other words, I must revert to 1960's behavior. On previous calls Hewitt told me that they could make automatic withdrawals from my checking account -- I have never permitted anyone but agreed to in this case. They, however, never sent me the forms to do this. Of course not.
I was also told that if I included their paper with each check that I would know to send the exact amount. Now they are creating side issues having no bearing on their incompetence. How much they lost on any one check has never been an issue. The issue is abuse of the check itself.
Several calls ago, the person I talked with verified from the FAX copy from the bank that they had the payments and on the same call verified that the new checks were now coming with the proper account information printed on them. But then that was before the cancellation notice stating that no money was received for 3 months.
If this sequence sounds out of order and confusing, you understand my frustration with being told things are good and then bad and then good and then ...
There is no more that I can do. More calls will just generate
more frustration. It is now up to the government or legal help.
I can look forward to this shit for the remainder of my
life. It is
not a happy prospect.
I receive a new call -- they have finally located all of my checks. They just posted the April 21 check. They claim all of the problems are resolved. They claim now that they know when and how my checks arrive there should be no more problems. This in itself is frightening. My checks are bank-issued checks pre-printed with my name, address, and account number -- arriving at the end of every month. There is nothing random about them except the amount and the amount is only random trying to keep ahead of their gymnastics. Even if nothing is due, the check is sent for a minimal amount.
If they accepted EFT payments, they would not even need the paper check.
If they claim that I was using the incorrect account information is
the basis for this problem, they had four years to inform me of this
before they deliberately just started discarding the deposits and
causing the problem. It took them 5 and almost 6 months to settle
the problem -- with all action initiated by me.