Local woman got $600 bill for lab work she thought insurance would cover

Local woman fights hospital lab bill

HICKORY, N.C. (WBTV) - A local woman called WBTV for help after getting hit with a $600 bill for lab work she thought was covered by insurance.

Sherry Shehan followed her medical providers' instructions and went to the lab they recommended.

However, it turns out the lab was out of her network and not covered by her insurance. She has been turned over to a collection agency for the $600 bill.

“Every month I receive a bill and they finally just turned it over to collections,” said Shehan.

Shehan went for her “well visit” to the Carolinas HealthCare System Blue Ridge Women’s Health, managed by Atrium Health, in February.

Shehan says the visit should be covered by her insurance, BlueCross BlueShield of North Carolina, but in June, she was shocked to receive a bill from Atrium Health for $605.

“And so I called my insurance company to see why it wasn’t covered, and they informed me that my labs had been sent to a nonparticipating facility instead of to LabCorp where it should have been sent," Shehan said.

BlueCross told Shehan that her paperwork was sent by mistake to Carolina Medical Center Lab.

“I don’t know why that occurred, it was just an accident I guess," she said.

BlueCross BlueShield told Shehan to call her doctor’s office since, they said, the office was responsible for the error. But Shehan says for the last four months, Atrium Health wouldn’t help her resolve the problem and turned her over to a collection agency.

“BlueCross BlueShield informed me that it was an error from the office and that it was not my responsibility to pay that—that it should be their responsibility to write that off," Shehan said.

With a credit agency hounding Shehan for the $600, WBTV contacted Atrium Health and BlueCross BlueShield to get the companies to find a way to resolve and eliminate the $600 bill.

Atrium Health said they couldn’t talk about a specific patient.

However, Blue Ridge said they have worked with the patient and resolved the issue.

BlueCross BlueShield of North Carolina also said, after talking with WBTV, they are reaching out to the member to work with her to resolve the bill.

Now, Shehan has advice for others - always check with your healthcare provider before a procedure to make sure your insurance is accepted.

“Is that happening to more people than just me and are they just paying this when a well visit should be covered? There shouldn’t be a charge to you," Shehan said.

Always remember to show your insurance card at the appointment to make sure everything will be covered and the hospital has the correct information on file. Then, contact your provider and insurance company.

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