Tell Excellus Blue Cross Blue Shield to pay for Melinda’s Care

Christopher M. Gorecki, Executive Vice President; James Reed, President

For years, Melinda struggled with debilitating chronic pain that left her unable to fully participate in her life as a full-time working mom of two small children. After seeing multiple doctors that lead to dead ends, she finally found one who offered hope and thought she was on the road to recovery. However, this was just the beginning of a long battle against a private health insurance corporation that was determined to crush her spirit and drain her wallet.

Melinda took what she thought were the necessary steps to confirm that the lab recommended by her doctor was in-network with her insurance provider, Excellus BlueCross Blue Shield. But they still billed her for $7,200. She spent hours on the phone with Excellus BlueCross Blue Shield representatives, trying to understand why they misled her about the coverage of her lab work. They ultimately told her that although the lab was in-network, the referring provider was out of network and thus the bill would not qualify for coverage.

Excellus's refusal to take any responsibility for providing misleading information has left both Melinda and her family feeling frustrated and helpless. The company has made the appeals process confusing, time-consuming and burdensome. Melinda is forced to prioritize fighting this bill over focusing on her health. Eight months later, the company is still refusing to pay.

Excellus reported profits of over $60 million last year and has $1.8 billion in reserves. These profits are the direct result of denying care to members like Melinda and many others who desperately need it.

Melinda is one of countless individuals with chronic pain who have to battle huge, greedy private insurance corporations that prioritize profits over people.

Insurance companies must prioritize the needs of people with chronic pain and cover their care. We call on Excellus Blue Cross Blue Shield to pay for Melinda’s care and to stop denying payment for care all their members need.

Sponsored by

To: Christopher M. Gorecki, Executive Vice President; James Reed, President
From: [Your Name]

Melinda is a beloved member of our Syracuse community. When the pandemic began, was grateful to qualify for Emergency Medicaid and finally have health insurance that would allow her to address her health issues. Melinda got lab tests done to find the root cause of chronic pain she had been living with for years. Excellus BlueCross BlueShield said they would be covered. A couple months later, Melinda received a bill for $7000. Shocked and stressed, Melinda followed up with Excellus and was told that since the referring provider was out of network, Excellus would not cover the cost of the lab work, even though the lab was in-network

Melinda has two small children and works full time. Describing her experience as “very emotionally hard,” she has been forced to spend dozens of hours on the phone, submitting appeals, and reading the fine print in her insurance policy in an attempt to get her care paid.
Excellus reported over $60 million in profits in 2022 and $1.8 billion in reserves. These profits are the direct result of Excellus denying care to patients like Melinda. Enough is enough. We demand that Excellus Blue Cross Blue Shield cover Melinda’s lab testing bill and stop denying payment for services that patients need.

People’s Action and Citizen Action of NY build the power of poor and working people in urban, rural, and suburban areas to win change through issue fights and elections.
Patients with chronic pain should be able to get the care and treatment they need without the stress of unaffordable bills, especially if they have health insurance.