Updated January 24, 2014 9:33 a.m.
By Ann-Marie Adams, Staff Writer
HARTFORD — Thirty days after many people signed up for Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield on health exchanges, they are still waiting for a bill.
Without the bill, they cannot get an account identification number, which is needed before payment can be made and be recorded with their account.
Anthem Spokesperson Sarah Yeager said that Anthem has hired more than 1,000 associates for its call centers to handle the crush of applicants who signed up during open enrollment for the Affordable Care Act, the most significant health care reform since the advent of Medicaid and Medicare in 1965.
“It is important to keep in mind that his is an unprecedented time of change for everyone in health care,” Yeager said. “While we expect the high call volumes to continue through the open enrollment period, Anthem is committed to getting our members the assistance they need.”
However, the process is taking longer than expected for people who signed up on or by Dec. 23, the deadline for insurance to be effective on Jan.1, 2014.
But that doesn’t make sense to at least one individual who on Jan. 23 has yet to get a bill. When she called the given customer number, an Anthem customer service representative said her information was “not in the system.”
After she inquired about that at the health exchange she signed up with, which took less than 30 minutes online, they told her the information was processed and sent over to Anthem on Dec. 23.
Yeager said Anthem is processing payments through the government exchange, Access HealthCT.
But there are other exchanges that have moved into the Connecticut insurance market: e-Health, a California-based insurance exchange company and Cross Exchange, which recently acquired the Stamford health insurance exchange: The Insurance Market.
It’s unclear whether Anthem is also processing applicants who signed up with other exchanges.
But customers can go to Anthem.com, Yeager said, to send an email: (firstname.lastname@example.org). Once they are on the site, they can look for “Attention Members” and click “contact us” then select send us your questions and comments.”
They can also call 1-888-556-9929, she said.
Anthem is reminding customers that it is “an extraordinary moment of opportunity for the uninsured and a transformational moment for the industry.” And they want customers to be patient.
Earlier on Thursday in a White House Call to the press, Deputy Senior Advisor David Simas was joined by representatives from the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, American Diabetes Association and American Heart Association to emphasize the dramatic and historic shift in the health care industry.
People with pre-existing conditions such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease will no longer be discriminated against by health care companies or pay higher premiums, he said.
Nationwide, almost more than 2 million people have signed up for the ACA, also known as Obamacare. As of Jan. 15, 85,001 people signed up in Connecticut.
Most of the uninsured are people who don’t have access to group health insurance, including the unemployed, the under-employed and self-employed.
A single person who earn between $11,500 and $46,000 is eligible for a government subsidy.