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Health Care Connection

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Amid Problems, Anthem Extends Deadline Again

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Frustrated customers continue to wait for insurance. (Published Monday, Jan 13, 2014)

    Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield has extended its payment deadline again. 
    Due to a massive backlog in new enrollees, the insurance company is now giving customers until Jan. 31 to pay their bills.

    The company has come under fire as customers around the state are continuing to express frustration.
    "I'm scared to death," said Les Schwanfelder of New London, who is without health insurance for the first time in 38 years.
    Schwanfelder's old Anthem plan was dropped because it wasn't Affordable Care Act compliant. So enrolled in a new one in November and paid the bill to make sure she was covered by Jan. 1. But to date, she has heard nothing from Anthem.
    "To this day I have heard nothing. I have not received e-mails, letters, nothing from Anthem," Schwanfelder said.
    She is not alone. Thousands of other Anthem customers have also been trying to get through to the the company but phone lines have been jammed.
    "I do get offended when I call and I'm put on hold for a very long time," she said.
    The company admits there's a backlog. 
    It's been so bad they've extended the payment deadline multiple times.
    So many, like Schwanfelder, haven't received an insurance card or valid ID number.
    "I cannot refill any of my long term prescriptions," she said.
    In a memo to customers, Anthem apologized and tried to ensure people that any application received before Dec. 23 will be processed for January 1 coverage.  
    "We also know that you are experiencing long wait times with Anthem’s call centers," the memo states. "We thank you for selecting Anthem and apologize for your inconvenience as we continue to work to process all January applications."
    The state attorney general's office is looking into a number of complaints they have received.
    "We have been in communication with Anthem as well as the state Insurance Department and Access Health CT and are working to determine why the company is experiencing problems and if there is any way for us to assist consumers in this situation," said Jacie Falkowski, a spokeswoman for Attorney General George Jepsen.
    The memo also states that customers can still be covered even if they don't have their ID card.
    "If you do not yet have a temporary ID card, as long as you have made your payment, your physician, pharmacist, or other provider can call our provider service line to verify coverage and obtain a guarantee of payment for services covered under your specific benefit plan," according to Anthem's memo.
    The State Insurance Department has posted a link to Anthem's frequently asked questions.
    Learn more.

    For complete coverage of the Affordable Care Act implementation as well as tools, calculators, state-by-state information and a detailed FAQ, visit our ACA section.