The Investigators: Woman's insurance premium fixed after jumping more than 2500%

The Investigators: Woman's insurance premium fixed after jumping more than 2500%

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - A woman will be able to keep her health insurance after fighting for nearly four months to try and not lose it.

Sonia Stewart contacted the Investigators after getting a health insurance bill from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Louisiana for nearly $1,000. She said her provider told her she should be paying $71 a month.

"We're not quite sure if it was a Marketplace error or if it was an error the agent had made. They're not going to be able to dive any deeper than they did to figure out where that glitch was, but what we were able to do was to resolve the issue," said Brian Burton, director of Southwest Louisiana Area Health Education Center. "Her insurance has been reinstated, back-dated until January 1. So she has insurance as of now, beginning January 1."

Officials said thanks to the Investigators' report they were able to meet with Stewart and fix the problem. They said she will be paying the correct amount for insurance.

Stewart was set to lose her coverage at the end of March when she called the Investigators for help.

She is currently a substitute cafeteria worker for East Baton Rouge Parish schools. Her employment status is on a "when they need her" basis so she relies on Affordable Care for health insurance.

For a few years, Stewart said things were great. The most she paid for health insurance was $33 per month. But Dec. 2015, it was time to renew so she called Marketplace.

Stewart's monthly statements from Blue Cross Blue Shield showed how her bill went from $0 up to more than $1,000. In December 2015 and January 2016, the bills were $0. Then in February, her bill all of a sudden was $969.11.

Stewart called Blue Cross Blue Shield on her own to figure out where the $969 monthly premium was coming from.

BCBC gave Stewart a new monthly premium of $71, which was up from her old monthly premium of $33. Stewart said it would be a struggle, but she accepted the new premium.

"The plan was better and it's something I could barely afford but I was able to do because I'm on some very expensive medicine," Stewart said.

However, she said they told her it would be the following month that it kicked in. When she received her March bill, to her surprise, she had an outstanding balance of $969 that she did not approve plus the $71 she did authorize. The total she owed Blue Cross now was $1,040.22. As she tried to resolve that, her April bill came in with another month of the $71 premium. She then owed $1,111.33.

After the Investigators started digging, the Louisiana branch of the Marketplace called Healthy Louisiana launched an investigation into Stewart's premium increase and a representative met with Stewart.

Blue Cross Blue Shield has also been in touch with Stewart. She said they're working with her to try to keep her insurance while this is worked out.

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