Blue Cross of California Members Overcharged Because of WellPoint Billing Error
About 47,000 members of WellPoint Health Networks' Blue Cross of California subsidiary in April were charged as much as five times more than their usual monthly premiums because of a "technical issue" with WellPoint's automatic bill paying system, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Michael Chee, a spokesperson for Blue Cross of California, said that the extra money has been returned to Blue Cross members, adding, "We believe the problem has been fixed so it won't happen in the future."
Jerry Flannigan of the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights said, "Simply repaying the overcharge, fees and interest is not enough," adding, "Blue Cross must be punished to ensure the company gets the message."
The Department of Managed Health Care is looking into the situation, Lynne Randolph, a department spokesperson, said. DMHC can penalize Blue Cross of California if overcharges are not returned, she said.
In addition, DMHC is holding a public meeting May 13 to address consumers concerns about Blue Cross premium increases (Vrana, Los Angeles Times, 5/5).