14 November 2006

The Human Touch

How else would you refer to masseurs? How about, "People who knead people" ? Need and knead, capiche?

I work a lot with computers and think I know a lot about them. I frequently use web-based self-service instead of calling some toll-free number and wander through voice mazes to reach a human being. It's all well and good as long as I get the info I need. Yesterday I need to look up info about my company's medical benefits. The web site was simply an amazing web! In the past, we used to get a packet of pamphlets and booklets about the various choices of medical plans to choose from. Nowadays, the info is available online only, but I searched and searched but there was no such thing. I knew the enrollment period was over for me but at least let me know what are the choices that I miss. A call to the benefits center, with a not-too-long wait, and I learned that I was among the first wave of employees to get to select/change benefit plans. Even though the enrollment period ends for everybody on Friday the 17th, on the web, probably based on my login, I couldn't even see the choices of medical plans. Sure I knew that there were United HealthCare, Aetna, maybe some other, and the Oxford HMO, but there was no way for me to see what each of those plans offer - the web site was designed to ensure that to be the case. What a pain! I still can make changes, but it must be done over the phone. I dread poring over the pages and pages of info in medical lingo. Fifteen minutes on the phone with a human being answered all my questions that an hour on the web couldn't. Sometimes there's just no substitute for consulting with a knowledgeable person. In such cases, I know I am among the people who need people.

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