Any idea why I can't pay my bill online?
December 22, 2022 9:26 AM   Subscribe

I've always paid my health insurance premium online each month. Beginning a few months ago, I began to have problems doing this. Can you help me figure out what's going on?

This became a problem a few months ago. I fill in the info, hit submit, and then I get these dancing dots -- which are supposed to signal that the payment is processing. But what happens is the dots just keep dancing, and the payment is never processed. Each month I forget this is a problem and I try again, and then when it doesn't work, I just call and make the payment by phone. Now, because it's a new year, they won't let me do it by phone, so I'm trying to figure out how to do it online. The customer service people aren't helpful, and I have to think it's something on my end because if this was system wide, wouldn't they have thousands of people complaining about it? I've tried different browsers, cleared my browsers, nothing works. Any ideas?
posted by swheatie to Technology (8 answers total)
Do you have an adblocker running? Sometimes poorly coded sites (which describes basically all health insurance sites) will tie a critical action like pressing the pay button to successfully pinging some bit of third party tracking tooling. When your adblocker reasonably blocks access to the tracker, the payment also fails.
posted by rockindata at 9:33 AM on December 22, 2022

Response by poster: Rockingdata, I'm on a Mac, and am not aware of having an adblocker, but how could I check/disable?
posted by swheatie at 9:36 AM on December 22, 2022

Do you have the payment web page or login page bookmarked, and do you use that bookmark to start the process? I had a similar (non-insurance) online payment problem and found out that even though it appeared I should be able to log in, something behind the scenes had changed and the updated login URL had changed.

It sounds like you're already signed in when this happens, but if you might be using an old pathway in, it might be worth googling the site and starting over.

Another thought, has your insurance number changed recently, perhaps tied to a new plan year?
posted by happy_cat at 9:41 AM on December 22, 2022 [2 favorites]

Have you tried on a different device? Maybe try using Safari on your phone instead of on your computer.

Do you know anyone else with the same health insurance? Are they having the same problem?
posted by kevinbelt at 9:50 AM on December 22, 2022 [3 favorites]

I think it’s entirely possible your insurer is trying to get people off whatever program you're on because they’re losing money or not making as much as they could with another program. Or maybe they think you’ve made excessive claims or have become a bad risk in some way.

Dodgy mortgage companies used to do things like changing due dates, changing addresses, not sending out late notices, and etc., so they could add a bunch of fees —and more than occasionally hit the jackpot and be able to foreclose on a home in a rapidly rising market which was worth a lot more than the mortgagee owed on it.

If they continue to give you trouble, a formal complaint to the state insurance commissioner will get their attention.
posted by jamjam at 9:51 AM on December 22, 2022 [1 favorite]

Any ideas?

Pay via your bank's bill pay feature.

You don't need to use your insurance's online payment system. You're already dealing with more trouble than you should to get it working. If you do get it working, you still won't have a reliable payment system, and you'll likely get no guarantee payment is delivered on time.

With your bank, you have a place to contact if something goes wrong, and that place is actually incentivized to help you - unlike your insurance company. Further, almost all bank bill pay features will have the bank accept liability if the payment shows up late. The one and only time I had a bill pay from my bank fail, they covered a rather substantial (hundreds of dollars) late fee for me. Finally, you will have a record of each payment that is traceable from your bank account to the insurance company, in case there are questions in the future.

Generally, you can do this whether or not your insurance company is supported by your bank's bill pay feature. If the insurance company isn't supported, the bank will just send a check through the mail.
posted by saeculorum at 9:58 AM on December 22, 2022 [5 favorites]

(edit: never mind, should have read your question more closely before I suggested using an incognito tab)
posted by Sauce Trough at 11:32 AM on December 22, 2022

When you're entering the card information, is it for a one time payment, or are you saving it as a method of payment? I had something similar happen with my electric bill: every time I tried to enter my card for a one-off payment, I'd get the endless dots. I finally saved it as a method of payment (but not for auto-bill), and it finally went through. So may be worth a shot if you're comfortable doing that/it gives you that option.

Alternatively, have you called your credit card company to see if they're even registering the attempt for payment? I had some weirdness on the credit card side one time that calling fixed, but that wasn't for a recurring issue, so I think that's a bit more of a long shot.

If neither of those work/appeal to you, I'll second looking into using your bank's bill pay feature. At least with my bank, I can easily set it up online, either as a one off or recurring. I generally prefer to initiate manually, but then you have to remember to do it a few days before it should go out.
posted by ghost phoneme at 7:18 AM on December 23, 2022

« Older Where should I go for dim sum in NYC on Christmas...   |   A quest for the perfect cheesecake... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.