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Anthem Blue Cross to pay $3.2 million in overdue-claims case

April 26, 2013|By Chad Terhune
  • WellPoint Inc.'s Anthem Blue Cross plan in California reached a settlement with regulators over money owed to thousands of medical providers.
WellPoint Inc.'s Anthem Blue Cross plan in California reached a settlement… (Darron Cummings / Associated…)

Anthem Blue Cross will pay more than $3.2 million to medical providers under a settlement reached this week with California regulators related to the company's mishandling of overdue bills.

The California Department of Managed Health Care said Anthem owed doctors and other providers interest on claims that were paid late from 2007 to 2011.

The state said Anthem, the state's largest for-profit health insurer, must make these payments, including penalties, within 120 days. Officials said Anthem also must make changes to its claims processing, including improved training and additional audits.

Brent Barnhart, director of the Department of Managed Health Care, said "the proper payment of claims is crucial to the success of California's healthcare delivery system.” 

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Anthem, a unit of insurance giant WellPoint Inc. in Indianapolis, said the claims issues didn't affect patient care and only relate to errors in interest on overdue bills.

"Anthem processes tens of millions of claims per year, and we will continue to work to improve the speed and accuracy of processing those claims," said company spokesman Darrel Ng.

Doctors have complained for years about health insurers delaying and improperly denying payment of appropriate medical claims.

The company said this settlement involves payouts to about 4,600 healthcare providers in the state.

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