I really want to pay my bill, I just don't know how much or who to give the money to
July 25, 2009 5:16 PM   Subscribe

The wife got a bill in the mail (then lost the bill) from either Blue Cross/Blue Shield of South Carolina or the South Carolina State Department of Education. She can't remember which, but does remember that it's a health insurance bill (which for some reason the state department of education has sent to them before, possibly due to the mother in law being a teacher in South Carolina) for roughly $500-600.

To make things more interesting the mother in law is keeping the wife on her health insurance until the wife gets her own or is covered by mine. However, the bill is in the wife's name.

Obviously we don't want to just ignore it until they send another one with late fees.

I've looked on both websites. State Department of Education has contact numbers for general information, the superintendent, office of communications, and education certification. Blue Cross/Blue Shield has numbers for buying insurance, getting information, reporting fraud, and looking for a job. None of which seems like it's the right number to call.

What can we do to both find out where the bill was from in the first place, and then convince the right people to send us another one so we can actually pay it (and possibly get an extension on the payment date if sending stuff through the mail would make it difficult to have the payment get there on time)? However, at this point we'd also settle for just learning the amount and paying the bill online.
posted by theichibun to Work & Money (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Here is the number for BCBS of South Carolina: http://www.southcarolinablues.com/members/contactus.aspx

If you can't log into My Insurance Manager and you've misplaced your ID card, you can still reach us. Here are some main switchboard numbers:

For Health Claims: 264-2215 in Columbia, SC, or toll free at 888-410-2227
For Dental Claims: 264-3879 in Columbia, SC, or toll free at 800-222-7156

The switchboard will route your call to the proper customer service area. Please keep in mind, individual customer service areas have different hours of operation.

You can also write us. Please include the member's name, address and member ID on information you mail to us, so we can route it to the proper customer service area. If you do not have access to a member ID, you can mail information to:

BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina
P.O. Box 100300
Columbia, SC 29202-3300

posted by Fairchild at 5:33 PM on July 25, 2009

This is stating the obvious but,

Is your wife's insurance card lost?

If it lost has she has used this insurance before? If so can't she call the doctor's office and ask what insurance is on file?

Also, what about the mother? Can she ask the mother-in-law (your mother) what is the correct insurance?
posted by Fairchild at 5:44 PM on July 25, 2009

The link above also gives info if you are a State Health Plan Member.

Good luck.
posted by Fairchild at 5:47 PM on July 25, 2009

Response by poster: The card is not lost and she's used the insurance before. It's the first bill that has come only to her, but the second bill associated with the policy. We know it's the right insurance, but we can ask her tomorrow when she comes to stay with us for a bit.
posted by theichibun at 6:01 PM on July 25, 2009

Did you happen to save the last bill for your records? And for a bonus question, do you know where you put it? If the answer is yes to both those questions, you can probably find a customer service number on there along with your wife's ID# on there to get the billing addy along with the exact amount of what she owes.

And while you're at it, see if you can sign up for online billing - you know, where they email you your statement so you don't inadvertently toss it.
posted by dancinglamb at 6:36 PM on July 25, 2009

When you say your mother in law is keeping your wife on her insurance until she can change, could it possibly be a bill for COBRA premiums? If so, it might not be from either the Dept of Education or BCBS. It could be from their COBRA vendor.

I mention this because, in my experience, there are very few policies that will allow a parent to keep a married child on her own policy. I work for a national insurance company and every one that I know of would have to continue as a COBRA policy, which is paid individually. The only exceptions are when there is some kind of state regulation allowing them to remain on the policy through a certain age. As SC does have some crazy insurance laws, this could be the case. Not sure for certain though.

I would suggest that the mother in law contact her HR department to find out if they moved your wife to COBRA and, if so, what would the contact number be for the vendor.

Also, in almost no other case would the employer/insurance company actually send a bill to the patient. Insurance will pay the health care provider and then they would bill the member for the balance.

BTW- That amount does sound about right for 1-2 months premiums, depending on how good the coverage is. You do want to get it straightened out though, as you can be terminated from coverage for non-payment of COBRA premiums and, if you are, you can be ineligible to renew the coverage. Generally there is a 60 day grace period, but that is about it.
posted by slavlin at 10:04 AM on July 26, 2009

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