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Error on Anthem ID cards results in claim denials

June 26, 2014
Area(s) of Interest: Commercial Payors Payor Issues and Reimbursement 

In late March, the California Medical Association (CMA) began receiving complaints from physicians in San Diego, Orange and Bay Area counties about denials from Anthem Blue Cross. Practices reported that patients presented to their offices with Anthem ID cards that indicated they had a Covered California/mirror PPO product and subsequent eligibility verification also indicated the patient had a PPO product.

However, Anthem later denied the claims stating the services were not covered under the patients' benefit plans because they received services from out-of-network providers.

CMA escalated the issue to Anthem and learned that while the Anthem ID card and eligibility verification indicated these patients had purchased PPO products, it was a mistake. These patients had actually purchased EPO products, with no out-of-network benefits.

While Anthem is offering a PPO product for their Covered California/mirror patients in most counties, they are only offering an EPO product in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Orange and San Diego counties. The Anthem EPO product does not provide any benefits if patients receive services from out-of-network physicians/facilities.

At CMA’s urging, Anthem corrected the affected patient ID cards and reissued new cards to EPO patients in May. Anthem also confirmed they have updated the information that displays when physicians verify eligibility to accurately reflect the correct product type.

CMA requested that Anthem automatically reprocess affected claims at the PPO rates, the product the ID card and eligibility information reflected, but Anthem was unwilling to do so. Instead they are requiring patients to appeal each individual claim to Anthem.

Patients who are unsuccessful in their appeal to Anthem can contact the Department of Managed Care's Help Center at (888) 466-2219.

Contact: CMA's reimbursement help line, (888) 401-5911 or economicservices@cmadocs.org.

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