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Read Making a Killing

home / healthcare / in the media

The Daily News of Los Angeles
May 05, 2005

by Staff and Wire Services

Blue Cross says overcharges fixed

THOUSAND OAKS - More than 46,000 Blue Cross of California members were accidentally overcharged for their monthly premiums in April, but the health care company said Monday that it has refunded most of the miscollected money. The California Department of Managed Health Care is looking into the mistake to prevent it from happening again.

"It appears that every Blue Cross customer who's an individual enrollee with direct withdrawal was affected,'' said Jerry Flanagan, a consumer advocate with the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights. "It looks like it was a computer glitch, but the problem is that Blue Cross wasn't forthcoming with who was affected and has been slow to refund the fees.''

The Santa Monica-based group said the overcharge amounted to $20 million, which WellPoint Inc., corporate parent of Blue Cross, disputed.

"Yes, it did happen, but it was most definitely an accident,'' said WellPoint spokesman Michael Chee. "The problem was swiftly identified and addressed. People who were inappropriately debited were either credited or refunded. To the best of our knowledge, all cases have been addressed.''

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