The summary of the issue is contained in my email to California's Dept. of Managed Health Care:
This is to the attention of Maggie. (Thank you, Maggie, for your very helpful conversation just now.)
As I stated on the phone, my husband has a plan through Blue Shield
through Covered California. I think it's a Silver PPO. He has had this
plan since Day 1 of ACA, and we are grateful for the money saved and the
stress we didn't have to experience for this period of time. Of course,
rates went up dramatically, with my husband's plan going from about
$550 to $941.31 per month beginning January 1, 2017. We received email
notifications of that at the time I renewed his plan and have since
received additional letters stating the amount (dated January 7 and
On Tuesday, we received the attached letter from Blue Shield
(backdated to February 10) advising that they would be withdrawing
$1,882.62 (precisely double the premium amount) on Feb. 28, presumably
as March payment. We called yesterday and the representative told us it
was a mistake, that Blue Shield's "back room" was aware of the mistake,
and, no, there was nothing more I could do beyond just getting the
mistake fixed for my husband. She suggested cancelling the auto
withdrawal so it wouldn't happen and instead make a one-time payment of
the correct amount of $941.31 right then. I declined to pay, saying I
would wait until it was due on February 28. But the auto withdrawal
authorization was removed.
It is stunning to my husband and me that Blue Shield can be so blase
about an error that could have a tremendous effect on many, many people.
I have no idea how many errors they've made. I can't find out. But you
can. And the time to correct the error is BEFORE they start pillaging
the accounts of people already stuck for health insurance because
organizations like them.
So, please, get going on this! While my husband and I would have
weathered a storm of $941.31 suddenly disappearing -- illegally, I might
add -- from our account, imagine those who can ill afford to do so.
How about that, folks? See what Blue Shield is doing there? They have made a mistake that will have them withdrawing double the amount they are authorized by me to withdraw. And it ain't just me, folks. Heads up, you poor Blue Shield "customers," get ready for a doozy come Tuesday.
And, yes, I did notify the Los Angeles Times as well. Seems I know someone there.