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Lab cancels bills after mix-up

On May 16, my wife had some blood work done at LabCorp in New Port Richey at her doctor's request. I inquired before the work was done if it was a participating lab with my insurance carrier and was told it was. I turned over my insurance card, and the work was done.

More tests needed to be done on May 20 and 21. Again I asked about the insurance and again I was told the lab was a participant in my insurance program.

A few months later I received a bill from Laboratory Corporation of America in Tampa for $231.50. I called and asked what the problem was and they said payment had not been received. I asked them to refile because I never had a problem with my carrier before. They agreed. A short time later, I received another bill. I called and gave LabCorp all my insurance information again so it could file once more.

In January, I received the bill again. This time I mailed a check off for $231.50 and waited to be reimbursed by my carrier. On March 9 I received another bill in the amount of $170.25 for the lab work done on May 20 and 21. I now decided it was time to call my insurance carrier. I was informed that LabCorp had lost its contract with my insurance carrier as of May 1. Why was I misinformed by LabCorp when I inquired before the work was done? Had I known, I would have used another lab. I feel I have been misled and that instead of my owing LabCorp $170.25, it owes me a refund of the $231.50 I paid.

I tried to contact some local agencies without success. I had a similar problem about 20 years ago that was corrected by Action. Albert Sirignano

Response: Patsy McIntyre, billing supervisor at LabCorp in Tampa, said the office in New Port Richey where your wife went to have her blood drawn should have known that LabCorp did not have a contract with your insurance carrier. LabCorp has now told your physician's office that it needs to use the laboratory that your insurance carrier has an exclusive contract with to prevent this from happening in the future.

McIntyre apologized for the inconvenience and said that both bills have been canceled and that a refund of $231.50 has been sent to you.

Card finally arrives

Upon receipt of a bill for renewal of my Allstate Motor Club membership in January, I called and spoke to a representative in regard to renewing in my name only, as my husband, John, had died. I also said I wished to downgrade the road service coverage and was told a package would be forthcoming.

Ten days later I called again and spoke to someone in the Colorado office who told me to send a check for $39.95 to Akron, Ohio, which I did. That check has been cashed.

In mid-February, I called again and was told I would receive my new card in eight to 10 days. When I followed up with a phone call at the end of February, I spoke to a supervisor who said he would overnight my membership card.

Having received nothing, I called at the beginning of March. The person I spoke to told me her computer screen showed that my check had been cashed and that there were instructions to overnight my card. She assured me I would definitely get it by the weekend. A month later, I am still waiting.

In addition to all this, I have received numerous bills in different amounts - $53.95, $14, $31.47, all in my husband's name. As if this is not enough, I also received two copies of a form letter acknowledging the fact that I called Allstate Motor Club's 800 number and asking me to rate the telephone representative.

I sincerely trust you can clear up this matter for me. All I want is my new membership card in my name only and confirmation of the road service for which I have paid. Cynthia Marino

Response: It took three months, but we're glad you finally received your membership card.

Ticket cost refunded

I need some assistance from you in obtaining a phone number and/or address of the NCAA regional ticket office or that of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. Any phone numbers I have called have been answered by recordings. I need to talk to a live person or get an address to mail a refund request to.

On March 13, I mailed a check for $120 for two tickets to the regional playoffs at Tropicana Field on March 20 and 22. I never received the tickets. My check was processed by my hometown bank on March 20.

Anything you can do to get me a refund will be greatly appreciated. Peter Nervina

Response: John Higgins, the Devil Rays' general counsel, said the Devil Rays were the authorized ticket seller for the basketball tournament, which is why you had to make your check out to them. He said your check was received March 17, and since there wasn't enough time to mail the tickets to you, they were placed at the will call window for pickup. No one claimed them or called about them. Because of the circumstances, Higgins said he has authorized a refund check to be sent to you.

Action solves problems and gets answers for you. If you have a question, or your own attempts to resolve a consumer complaint have failed, write Times Action, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731, or call your Action number, 893-8171, or, outside of Pinellas, (800) 333-7505, ext. 8171, to leave a recorded request.

Requests will be accepted only by mail or voice mail; calls cannot be returned. We will not be responsible for personal documents, so please send only photocopies. If your complaint concerns merchandise ordered by mail, we need copies of both sides of your canceled check.

We may require additional information or prefer to reply by mail; therefore, readers must provide a full mailing address, including ZIP code. Names of letter writers will not be omitted except in unusual circumstances. Letters may be edited for length and clarity.

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