Nearly 9,500 Florida Blue customers had excess health insurance payments automatically drafted from their bank accounts this week.
That’s according to figures released Wednesday by the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation. The vast majority were customers buying Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, insurance through the exchanges.
The online firestorm likens the Florida Blue payment glitch to a blunder on United Airlines level. One Facebook user says his account was over-drafted by more than $18,000.
The company has apologized, and blames the problem on a vendor.
Florida Blue issued a statement on Wednesday explaining that most refunds should be issued in the coming days but others may take longer.
In the meantime, no policy will be canceled for non-payment.
“We are taking responsibility for addressing the issue quickly, making things right for our members, and ensuring that it does not happen again,” the statement says.”
Customers looking to get overdraft fees reimbursed are asked to email firstname.lastname@example.org. Check here for more from the company.
Florida Blue is the only insurer offering Affordable Care Act policies in 47 Florida counties.
See below for Florida Blue’s full statement:
“We are very sorry for the problems this is causing our members.
Within 24 hours of becoming aware of the issue, we initiated charge reversals for all impacted members. Many members have already seen refunds reflected in their accounts. Other refunds are currently being processed by members’ financial institutions. We expect those refunds should be completed by most banks within the next few days; in some instances it may take slightly longer.
We are working directly with banking institutions across the state. We have notified them of the issue in an effort to have all late charges and associated fees removed from these members’ accounts. However, if members are charged banking fees surrounding this issue we will reimburse our members for these charges.
We will work on an individual basis with any member who has concerns about adverse impact on his or her credit.
This matter is being dealt with at the highest levels of Florida Blue’s management. We are taking responsibility for addressing the issue quickly, making things right for our members, and ensuring that it does not happen again.”
WMFE is a partner with Health News Florida, which receives support from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.