Anthem Blue Cross fined $5M for stonewalling complaints

FILE - This Wednesday, Dec. 3, 2014, file photo shows the Anthem logo at the company's corporate headquarters in Indianapolis. Anthem's first-quarter earnings soared past Wall Street forecasts, and the health insurer raised its 2017 forecast after jumping deeper into government-funded business and cutting costs. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings, File)

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California regulators have fined Anthem Blue Cross $5 million for stonewalling customer complaints.

The Department of Managed Health Care announced the fine Wednesday against the nation’s second-largest health insurer. The department has fined Anthem nearly $12 million for such violations since 2002.

In the latest announcement, regulators said it found 245 violations of the grievance system during an investigation of consumer complaints from 2013 through 2016.

The department says in one case, Anthem Blue Cross pre-authorized surgery and reconstruction for a customer with a serious condition then denied the claim when it was submitted.

The patient and others made 22 calls to the insurer but it took six months and a complaint to state regulators before the claim was resolved.

A message seeking comment from the company wasn’t immediately returned.

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