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2 Investigators: Transition To Affordable Care Act Rough For Some Blue Cross Customers

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For more information about the Affordable Care Act, visit CBSChicago.com/ACA.
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By Dave Savini

(CBS) – There has been a lot of confusion since the Affordable Care Act went into effect last year.

There have been implementation delays and insurance policy changes that have confused health-insurance consumers and providers.

Some frustrated viewers have contacted the 2 Investigators for help in clearing up their problems.

CBS 2’s Dave Savini reports.

He talked with a number of Chicagoans who are caught in insurance limbo – and to Illinois’ biggest insurer, which says it is working hard to fix some problems.

“I’m scared that I don’t have coverage,” says Linda Mestling.

She says she paid Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois but doesn’t have a valid policy.

Joe Mabus says he has been billed multiple times for the same premium.

“The funds have been withdrawn from my account,” he says. He says the insurer can’t answer his questions and tells him, “We’ll get back to you.”

Blue Cross Blue Shield sent him a letter cancelling his health insurance on March 4.

“We are sorry to anybody who has had any problems,” says Austin Waldron, chief customer service officer with Blue Cross Blue Shield.

He says since the Affordable Care Act went into effect, enrollment calls this year went from 6,000 to 20,000 daily, and it overwhelmed their systems.

But since January, the company has hired 300 more customer service agents and beefed up its computer department.

“I think people will see if they call us today a much improved service experience,” Waldron says.

Blue Cross is just one of several health insurers caught by the flood of new customers created under the ACA.

Joy Dertinger is pregnant and says she has another kind of customer service problem with the company.

“I feel deceived,” she says.

Dertinger says before switching to Blue Cross Blue Shield she was assured her child’s birth would be covered at Silver Cross Hospital, where her existing doctor practices. But she says after she paid her premium she was told no.

It’s an emotional issue for her. She almost lost her first child during birth and wants to stay with the hospital and doctors who saved her first baby.

“I’m really nervous,” she says.

Blue Cross officials tell the 2 Investigators they have resolved the payment issues for the people CBS 2 interviewed.

They say they are working to get Dertinger a waiver so she can stay with her doctors during her pregnancy.

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