PHILADELPHIA (CBS3) – 3 On Your Side is helping a Montgomery County woman resolve a $24,000 medical bill that insurance was supposed to pay. Medical Reporter Stephanie Stahl has the story.

Thirty-nine-year-old Brooke Gillette tried to relax and distract herself with her cat or on the piano, but for a year-and-a-half, she’s been struggling with a nagging bill for an operation she had to have.

“Blood pressure’s going up just talking about it,” said Brooke.

She had her gallbladder removed in February of 2009.

Stephanie Stahl said to Brooke, “Before you had the surgery, you got all the paper work lined up. You got the insurance approved.” Brooke nodded in response.

But a few months later, she found out that the insurance company wasn’t covering the surgery.

“It was a little disturbing to be told it’s a pre-existing condition we don’t cover that. I was pretty much on the war path at that point,” said Brooke.

After countless phone calls, Brooke was told to fax certificates proving she had previous health coverage to fix the problem. She did, and thought it was resolved.

You can imagine her shock when in May of this year, she got a bill from the hospital saying she owed $24,443.04.

“That’s a huge amount of money,” said Brooke.

She immediately called UnitedHealthcare, the insurance company that had pre-approved the surgery, to find out why the bill hadn’t been paid.

Stephanie Stahl asked Brooke, “You just keep getting the run-around. They keep coming up with all kinds of different excuses.”

Brooke responded, “Nothing ever, ever got resolved. After the millionth phone call, and the millionth person with no last name telling me that, no you didn’t send in your certificates, I felt like I was either going to burst a blood vessel in my brain or I was going to have to call you guys.”

She did call us, and we called UnitedHealthcare. Within a week, the bill was resolved.

“It only got fixed because you guys got involved that’s for sure. CBS-3 was a really, really great advocate to have in my court, so thank you,” said Brooke.

When we asked UnitedHealthcare why the problem got fixed so quickly after CBS-3 got involved, they issued a statement saying in part, ” … We recognize the importance of swift resolution for our members, and we apologize for the delay.”

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