Battling insurance company to pay bills

Seven On Your Side
July 16, 2008 2:52:53 PM PDT
Anybody who has been to a doctor's office or a hospital knows how expensive it can be and getting your insurance company to pay for it can be a fight. For one local couple when their insurance company said no to a hospital bill they started paying it.

Seven on your Side's Tappy Phillips has more on how their mistake could save you money.

Nearly $37,000 is the amount Ernst and Marleine Pierre owe Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital.

Marleine was a Blue Cross Blue Sheild member back in 2003. That's the year she had surgery to remove a tumor from her uterus.

"The doctor said it was becoming bigger, so i think it's best for me to get it out," said Marleine.

Luckily the tumor was benign but Blue Cross declined paying Marleine's bill.

"The insurance company said that they had received the bill too late from the hopital," said Ernst.

The hospital disagreed saying they submitted the bill on time.

"The hospital blames the insurance company, they insurance company blames the hospital and I'm caught in the middle," he adds.

So when the Pierre's didn't pay, the hospital took them to court and won. With court costs they owe more than $38,000. Marleine got on a payment plan.

So why wasn't the bill paid? Blue Cross told Eyewitness News that there was a problem with paperwork and once it was corrected it was too late. After Seven on your Side talked to the hospital, they took $11,000 off the bill. And because Marleine had already paid more than her share, she'll get a refund of over $2,000.

STORY BY: Eyewitness News reporter Tappy Phillips