MIMS, Fla. - A Brevard County couple called Action 9 when they couldn't correct a $2 million insurance mistake for a hospital bill they didn't know owe.
They knew it was a case of mistaken identity involving an identical twin's tragic death. But for weeks, they say no one would believe them. The couple turned to consumer investigator Todd Ulrich.
“My heart dropped. My heart literally dropped,” Kim Barding said. She could not believe what she was reading. She saw medical bills processed by her insurance company for $2.2 million.
“We immediately knew. We knew what happened,” Barding said.
Her husband, Vance Barding, had an identical twin named Vince Barding, who was badly burned in a work accident.
Vince Barding was airlifted to Orlando Health. Doctors tried to save his life for six weeks before he died from complications.
Kim Barding knew healthcare providers and the insurance company had mistakenly billed their joint policy for her brother-in-law’s care. Kim Barding contacted her insurance company, Cigna, the same day.
“Did you think within 24 hours, it's such an obvious mistake it would be fixed?” Ulrich asked.
“Yes, I did, I did. I really did,” Barding replied.
She claims that for eight weeks, Cigna kept billing them for Vince Barding's treatment.
“You weren't just seeing bills. They were taking money out of your health account?” Ulrich asked.
“Correct. I had to keep calling Cigna,” Barding said.
She had nearly $3,000 deducted from her health reimbursement account. That wiped out Barding’s employer medical fund.
The family was worried the account could head to collections or that their credit score could be in jeopardy.
The grieving couple felt flooded with emotions.
“And then to get this bill, it's like my husband said, we're reliving this all over again,” Barding said.
She contacted Action 9. Three days after reaching Ulrich, all the money was returned to her health fund and the billing stopped.
“Did contacting us make a difference?” Ulrich asked.
“Oh yes. Oh yes,” Barding said.
Cigna told Action 9, the company worked with this customer for several months to resolve complex billing issues. And those issues were complicated by healthcare providers sending the wrong bills.
The best way to dispute a medical insurance bill is to contact the company in writing, by email or certified mail.
Consumers can also send a complaint to Florida’s Department of Financial Services.
“The Cigna team has been working closely with this customer for several months on her complex, erroneous bills, which were resolved prior to WFTV’s outreach to Cigna. Our team has spoken with the customer, and we are happy to have resolved her concerns and refunded all charges billed to her in error by healthcare providers.
The issue was due to a large number of claims submitted in error by healthcare providers. We have spoken with these providers to alert them to these erroneous bills and our resolution on behalf of the customer.”
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