DALLAS — New numbers show almost 119,000 Texans have signed up for and purchased health insurance under the Affordable Care Act. That's less than two percent of the 6.3 million uninsured in the state.
But complaints against insurance companies are on the rise as well.
As they write new policies, existing customers say they are paying the price with glitches in their accounts, providers turning them away, and long hold times when they call for answers.
Michelle Peliserro's problems started when Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas didn't send her a November bill.
"They called me. She told me there was a glitch in the system," Peliserro said. "That's why I hadn't received a bill. They also said I didn't pay my November payment, which I did, and I have proof that I did. And as soon as I said that, she said, 'Oh yeah, I see here that you did pay that.'"
Peliserro paid $199 in November, $243 in December and $254 for January, according to printouts of her bank statement. None of the payments were late, she said.
But days after making her January payment, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas sent her a letter canceling her health insurance coverage. It didn't explain why, and she said the Richardson-based company has never refunded her premiums.
For more than two weeks, she cannot get anyone at Blue Cross to answer the phone and tell her whether she is covered.
"I've actually made this a daily project now where I'm Facebooking them every day, where I'm being so annoying that eventually that make me shut up," Peliserro added.
She's not the only one.
Customers are blasting big insurance companies on Facebook, and records from the Texas Department of Insurance show official complaints on the rise as well.
The three largest carriers all saw more problems in 2013 than the previous year.
"Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas understands our members’ frustration as they call our customer service line, which has experienced high volume and long wait times. We are working hard to support our new and existing members by adding call center representatives and extending our call center hours," the insurer said in a statement to News 8.
Blue Cross added that its website (bcbstx.com) is prepared to handle additional traffic for new enrollments and customer service requests.
No doubt it's a transformational time in health care as insurers add thousands of new customers who are signing up for coverage under the Affordable Care Act.
Blue Cross told Peliserro — who is an existing customer — that she is in the queue, but the insurer could not say when it will get back to her.