Action 9: Woman reimbursed insurance money for eye surgery

by: Jason Stoogenke Updated:


CHARLOTTE, N.C. - A woman who works in the health care industry had a medical procedure and her insurance covered more than she expected. But she had trouble getting her doctor to give the money back.

Shelby Norton is a registered nurse and said her eyesight was so bad that she "couldn't see like 3 feet in front of me -- couldn't see the leaves on the trees."
So, she decided "to just go ahead and get LASIK (eye surgery) done. That way I could just see." 
She went to Christenbury Eye Center and the bill was about $3,500.
She assumed her insurance wouldn't cover it so she paid the full bill. 
She had the surgery and was thrilled with the job Christenbury did, and she was more thrilled when her insurance eventually said it would cover roughly half the bill.
"I was very, very excited at first, so I called the office. I said, 'You know, hey, my insurance said that they were going to pay for some of it,'" she said.
But when that check was sent to Christenbury, the eye center didn't return any of Norton's money. 
She said she kept asking, but six months went by and there was still no check. 
"It's frustrating. It's very frustrating," she said. 
Action 9 asked a major insurance company how often it hears about this situation.
Officials said almost never. 
The person filing a claim should ask the provider to submit it before paying out of pocket to see what insurance will cover, and don't assume because a procedure is elective, that insurance won't cover it.
Action 9 contacted Christenbury for Norton.
"Not three hours later, I had a call back from Christenbury," she said. 
The eye care business mailed Norton the $1,856 check.

If you've been ripped off, overbilled or misled; or if you see something that is hurting all consumers, contact Action 9.