John Clegg woke up Tuesday morning to an email from his bank saying his account had been overdrawn.
Turns out, that was a mistake made by the bank in Cheyenne that processes payments for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Wyoming.
“Some Blue Cross Blue Shield of Wyoming members may have been impacted by a bank processing error that resulted in duplicate withdrawals from members’ banking accounts for automatic premium payments,” said a press release sent out earlier this week.
Clegg was in the “fewer than 10 percent” of members affected by the error. According to the Wyoming Department of Insurance, that equated to between 7,000 and 7,500 people.
The insurance company is the only company Clegg allows to automatically take funds directly out of his account. His account was debited over $1,000 four separate times on Tuesday. Three of the debits were credited back Wednesday.
“Sure enough, the only person that could mess it up did,” Clegg said.
He tried to call the insurance company several times that morning, getting a busy signal and then getting disconnected.
“I think they were overwhelmed with calls,” he said.
He never was able to reach the insurance company and instead chose to start a charge dispute with his bank.
Everything turned out fine for Clegg, but he said being charged for four months of health insurance at once — especially at the beginning of a month when many renters are paying rent — could be debilitating for some.
“Particularly in Jackson, people live month to month with their paychecks,” Clegg said. “So to have a third of a year taken out at one time I think would affect a lot of people in Jackson very significantly. I could afford to wait 10 days [what his bank told him it might take] to get the funds back, but I’m sure a lot of people couldn’t.”
In the press release the insurance company said it understands the “financial impact” the mistake has on its members and will make sure anyone impacted will be refunded any overdraft charges or fees.
Clegg said that he was happy to see the problem handled relatively quickly but that even if he wanted to go somewhere else for health insurance, he couldn’t. Blue Cross Blue Shield is the only provider in the state.
“I have to get insurance on my own, and that’s the only option for me,” he said. “So if Blue Cross Blue Shield was messing up, it’s not like I could go somewhere else for insurance.”
It was a rough week for Clegg, financially. He received a notice Saturday that his information was stolen in the recent Marriot Starwood hack affecting 500 million people. An email from Quora on Monday said he was one of the 100 million whose information was stolen. And then Tuesday, this snafu.
“I think the financial gods were not smiling down on me,” he said.
Members are encouraged to check their bank accounts and, if their account does not reflect a correction, contact the insurance company or ANB Bank at 307-634-2121.