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Call center worker sounds alarm over Affordable Care Act training

CHESTER, Va. (WTVR) – A worker at a Central Virginia call center says inadequate training and confusion is muddling the process for citizens who want to buy insurance via the Affordable Care Act.

A General Dynamics call center in Chester is one of seven call centers set up across the country to answer questions about the Obamacare Health Insurance Marketplace.

“There’s a lengthy wait time for people calling into the marketplace,” the worker told CBS 6 News’ Sandra Jones. “It’s more about manpower than anything else.”

The worker, who spoke out on the condition of anonymity because she feared losing her job, things are so bad General Dynamic is hiring anybody in order to staff the call center.

She said workers ran into problems logging onto websites and following scripts to answer callers’ questions on the first day.

She is also worried that she – and other workers — did not receive enough training to help callers with the complicated enrolment process.

“I think it’s somewhat chaotic because you have people as back up that only had one week of training,” the worker warned.

The worker said she fears the lengthy wait times could be because workers are putting callers on hold because they are using a standardized script and do not know the “ins and outs” of the system.

Even so, she fears she and other workers could be fired because they cannot process calls quickly enough.

“You are monitored for your calls and if you get so many calls where you’re not showing a certain performance level, you could be terminated,” she said.

As the call centers fielded calls about the Health Insurance Marketplace, complaints mounted across the nation about lengthy wait times.

CBS 6 News went through the process to see how long it would take to get an agent on the phone.

A recorded message said it would take around 15 minutes, which was accurate. However, a worker from Houston, Texas, call center answered the phone.

A manager and supervisor from General Dynamics directed our inquiries to the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services in Washington, D.C., which oversees the call centers. However, officials were unable to comment since only essential personnel were in the office because of the government shutdown.

Stay with WTVR.com and CBS 6 News for updates on this story. 

13 comments

  • roger

    You can pretend to train them forever. But the reality is, The hiring pool under this administration cannot yield 1 competent person. We are screwed. It took 4 years to get this operational and it sucks. There is not a democrat in this country qualified to flea dip my dog, much less implement their communist agenda.

  • Martin Klein

    Typical they do not interview one of the millions of people who now have health insurance. It is the first day and already she is complaining. Hope they fire her. If it is too hot in the kitchen, get out.

  • ChuckRach42

    I agree with Martin Klein. She should be fired or even better quit so that a real call center experience can take over. This is a new process and hiccups she be expected and learned from.

  • justme

    Sounds as if someone may want to look for employment elsewhere. Agree with above comments. There are many people waiting for an opportunity to take the job shes complaining about.

  • Lila

    This is real messed up she is jeopardizing her job and other ppl jobs they didn’t know how long they had to train this new to everyone so this was very unprofessional!!

  • Lila

    I agree with the comments she should’ve waited it was the first day of the opening no one was really prepared for it this is the first real calls that have received how can she expect for anyone to just jump on the phone and automatically be a genius at what they are doing.

  • Windy

    Back to work folks…nothing to see here. Anyone knows that you are going to have a backflow, slow results, and questions..questions..questions when you are beginning a new process. There is plenty of time for people to inquire, review, and make a decision. It has only been one day people!

  • Tiny Bubbles

    Whine if you work, whine if you don’t. This individual has jeopardized other people’s jobs and security at the facility. What were you thinking, no brownie points for you. Hope they show the door

  • beverly

    Its ironic she has so much to say, but what she isnt telling you is yes, she did only go through one week of training, but following her completing training all the way up until October 1st when the first Marketplace call was accepted, every Marketplace representative had what is called Training and Delievery time for their entire shift. Let me provide a picture for you. For 5 to 7 hours out of her shift she was given a segment as the rest of them are that is actually designated for training. So if she was unclear on the material for marketplace she had more than enough time to actually study the material to make sure she was understanding. Its called using your time wisely. So instead of jusr sitting there enjoying free money, she should have been reviewing the material so when it came time to take calls she would knowhat she was talking about. Its just that simple. Im pretty sure she wanst complaining about the lack of training when she was just sitting there hours on end

  • Anonymous poster

    The problems experienced were not due to issues at the local call center yet this news channel jeopardized the safety of the workers by exposing the location and name of the company contracted by the government to provide the call center services. Beverly is correct… There was plenty of time and resources provided to the workers and I’m sure this news segment will negatively affect future operations at this local office which has provided more jobs in the last 6 months than many other local businesses. I hope you’re glad you got your story WTVR. Why not focus on the positive job creation by local businesses rather than some spotty anonymous complaint by someone who couldn’t perform their job duties.

  • Nope

    The problems experienced were not due to issues at the local call center yet this news channel jeopardized the safety of the workers by exposing the location and name of the company contracted by the government to provide the call center services. Beverly is correct… There was plenty of time and resources provided to the workers and I’m sure this news segment will negatively affect future operations at this local office which has provided more jobs in the last 6 months than many other local businesses. I hope you’re glad you got your story WTVR. Why not focus on the positive job creation by local businesses rather than some spotty anonymous complaint by someone who couldn’t perform their job duties.

  • Na

    This person should be fired . If she felt that way she should have gone to management not the news…this is something new for everyone and guess what nobody is perfect… There may have been un answered questions but if she would have given it some time and read her self training material then maybe she wouldn’t feel the way she do. She should be happy she has a job and stop complaining . I hope they find out who this person is because w don’t need people like this working there

  • Tiny Bubbles

    Way out of line on worker’s part and irresponsible reporting by news 6. I know she was trained and it is her fault if she could not grasp it. You can lead a horse to water, but you can not make him drink. News was wrong in divulging the name and location of the center. They also filmed license plates and employees entering the building. Wrong Wrong Wrong. This employee needs to be found and dealt with. This employee’s actions put a lot of hard working people in a spotlight they did not deserve and breached security at the facility.

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