Blue Cross NC: No payments made through health care exchange - WNCT

Blue Cross NC: No payments made through health care exchange

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Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina has experienced a number of problems with the Health Insurance Exchange. Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina has experienced a number of problems with the Health Insurance Exchange.
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -

It's been one month since the rollout of Obamacare, but problems persist as Healthcare.gov is still struggling to stay online.

The public's problems in trying to deal with the troubled Health Insurance Marketplace website aren't the only problems plaguing the system. WNCN Investigates learned the state's largest insurer has experienced a number of problems with the system

Blue Cross Blue Shield has more than 3.7 million customers in our state, but internal emails obtained by WNCN show that as of last Friday, only one person had enrolled for health insurance through the Exchange and that person hasn't paid.

Without payment, enrollment means nothing because the customer is still not officially in the system.

Click here to read BCBS's internal communications

Part of that payment issue may come from the government's technical problems. Blue Cross Blue Shield emails indicate the "payment re-direct option" on the government servers isn't working.

In fact, the government's whole system is so plagued that emails say BCBS made a "business decision to refrain from uploading data" to prevent false data from entering its system.

Meanwhile, people are not embracing BCBS's marketplace. According to those emails, less than 1,000 people even filled out applications as of Oct. 25.

BCBS spokesman Lew Borman responded, saying, "problems with the Exchange have been widely reported.

"We are getting applications every day," Borman explained. "Enrolling customers requires us to verify their data and collect payment.

"There are several challenges in those areas, but we understand [the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services] is working on them. We're hopeful that the issues can be resolved quickly so the Exchange will work seamlessly for our customers."

The government is working to correct these issues and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius even apologized for the problems.

"You deserve better," Sebelius said in testimony before the House Energy and Commerce Committee. "I apologize. I'm accountable to you for fixing these problems."

The emails obtained by WNCN also reveal someone's trying to use BCBS's name fraudulently in some states to obtain people's personal information.

The perpetrator is identifying himself as with the "National Health Care Registry," which the caller falsely claims is taking over healthcare reform contracts from Blue Cross.

The memo indicates Blue Cross North Carolina is aware of the situation and has distributed talking points to its people to help counter those phony claims.

So far, the insurer says none of the phony calls have happened in North Carolina.

Previously WNCN asked BCBS how many people had enrolled, but it declined saying the government would release those numbers sometime in November. In North Dakota, one BCBS official told a public forum the Obama administration specifically asked it not to publicize how many people have signed up.

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Steve Sbraccia

Steve is an award-winning reporter for WNCN and former assistant professor. A seasoned professional, Steve is proud to call the Triangle home since 2005 after over two decades in Boston, Mass.  More>>

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