8/20/2014

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Woman's bank account taken for a ride after applying for health insurance

Woman's bank account taken for a ride after applying for health insurance

YAKIMA, Wash.-- A woman was left in a financial bind for almost a month after attempts to get health insurance through Washington Healthplan Finder. By Jan. 2, five monthly payments were taken out of her bank account.

Monica Kennard applied for health insurance through Washington Healthplan Finder on Dec. 22 to make the deadline to have insurance by Jan. 1. But, she was left without insurance, even after five separate payments were taken from her account.

Monica Kennard thought she found the quickest way to have health insurance by the new year. She went online through Washington Healthplan Finder and applied by the deadline to have coverage by Jan. 1. On New Year's Eve, two months of payments were taken out of her bank account instead of one.

"We were really, really shocked," Kennard said.

Washington Healthplan Finder promised Monica she'd get her money back in a week. But, it got worse. Two days later, three more monthly payments were gone. That's five payments of $410. Monica was out more than $2,000. 

"We didn't know if there was going to be others coming out the next day and the next day and the next day and the next day," Kennard said. 

Monica still wasn't reimbursed more than a week later when she had a doctor's appointment. Guess what? The doctor told her she didn't have coverage.      

"They billed me and I am responsible for the payment," she said. 

Monica was finally reimbursed on Thursday for the excess withdrawals. The experience has her insurance agent worried about the rest of her clients.

"It's a nightmare," Barbara Bloomfield said. 

She's now telling her clients to take precautions if they use Washington Healthplan Finder.

"The biggest takeaway from this would be to go and purchase you know, the prepaid debit or credit card and not give the system access to your bank account," Bloomfield said. 

A system that's supposed to help people take care of their medical problems gave Monica Kennard one big headache.

To get all sides, KIMA called Washington Healthplan Finder. The people there told me to call back next week because no one was available to talk to me today about Monica's issues.

Through it all and despite making one payment on time, Monica still does not have insurance. She's been told her coverage will now start Feb. 1 instead.

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