CalPERS Cites Steps To Improve Services After Claims Processing Delays
CalPERS officials say that the agency has made several improvements to services during recent months after the launch of a new $514 million computer system caused delays in claims processing, the Sacramento Bee reports.
The improvements are detailed in a staff assessment that the CalPERS Board of Administration will receive on Tuesday (Ortiz, Sacramento Bee, 4/17).
Background on Claims Processing Delays
CalPERS launched its new benefit-tracking system, called "my | CalPERS," in September 2011Â with assistance from Accenture, a private technology company.
The new system consolidated about 50 systems into one.
However, problems with the launch of the new system led to delays in death benefit payments and generated erroneous letters telling someÂ members that their health insurance coverage had been revoked.
As of November 2011, the changeoverÂ had increased the time it takes CalPERS to process death benefits from about 45 days to up to 90 days.
According to Brad Pacheco -- a CalPERS spokesperson -- delays in changing a payout from a pension benefit to an initial death benefit could affect how health insurance premiums are deducted from the payment. If a payment is missed, insurers could issue a cancellation letter, Pacheco said (California Healthline, 11/28/11).
CalPERS has apologized for the cancellation notices and assured members that their health insurance has not been revoked.
According to the CalPERS officials, the agency has reduced claims processing delays. Â
Donna Lum, CalPERS' deputy executive officer of customer service, said, "The important thing to recognize is that we're starting to see normal processing levels"
According to the staff assessment, the agency has helped more employers use the new system correctly. In addition, a CalPERS unit that examines pensions for abuses and errors has reduced the number of reviews waiting to be conducted by more than 50%, the assessment found.
The assessment also highlights additional improvements including:
- Faster direct depositing of pension checks;
- Software fixes; and
- Strategic decisions to prioritize certain work (Sacramento Bee, 4/17).