Los Angeles Times, September 20, 2011
Andrea Kreuzhage is the kind of customer all health insurers dream of having. She's in excellent shape, never submits medical claims and pays all her bills on time. So, of course, Anthem Blue Cross canceled her coverage last week. This is the latest twist in Anthem's decision to no longer allow members to make automatic payments with credit cards. As Kreuzhage's case illustrates, it may not be a smooth transition for many people. She was told by the company that she was joining the ranks of the uninsured because she didn't pay her bill. "This occurred either because Blue Cross did not receive your premium within 31 days of the premium due date, or because we did not receive sufficient funds to cover your premium," Kreuzhage, 48, was informed by letter. "I was shivering when I read this," the Baldwin Hills documentary filmmaker told me. "I had done everything right. I had never missed a payment. And yet now I had no health insurance for the first time in my life. It felt like doomsday." It wasn't doomsday. It was just an example of a major corporation turning the screws on a customer to get what it wanted.