3OYS: New River woman fights medical company for refund

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By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey

PHOENIX -- Noelle Johnson has a busy life.  When she's not with her kids, she's making sure her house is in order. But lately, Johnson says she's found herself spending a significant amount of her of precious time battling a company.

"It's extremely frustrating," Johnson told 3 On Your Side as she cried. "Extremely frustrating."

The issue, she says, seems so easy to resolve, yet the amount of time and energy she's put into the ordeal is enough to drive her to tears.

The problem centers around a medical facility called SimonMed Imaging. Johnson says she went to SimonMed Imaging for an ultrasound, a procedure that her insurance company said it would pay for in full.

"My co-insurance was zero; my deductible was zero. My co-pay is zero," Johnson said.

But when Johnson showed up for her appointment, SimonMed said she had to pay $112 out of her own pocket. Johnson balked at the amount, but was told she had to pay if she wanted it done.

"Well, I need this procedure. My doctor ordered it. It's obviously a necessity and I need it done," she said. So, she reluctantly paid the money.

After having the ultrasound done, and after later confirming with her insurance company that she shouldn't have paid anything, Johnson says she spent the next three months trying to get SimonMed to return her $112.

But, Johnson says, phone call after phone call, she ran into a brick wall and was passed around.

"They said, 'Ma'am, I told you earlier that this is only a call center.  All I can do is email the supervisor' and that's all they've been doing, or telling me and supervisor will get back to me regarding my check.  But they don't."

3 On Your Side tried contacting someone at SimonMed, and our experience wasn't much better. We were transferred different times, given different numbers to call. and in many cases left listening to elevator music.

Finally, 3 On Your Side reached the right person, who looked into Johnson's case and right away realized they needed to cut her a check. Johnson says she finally got her money, all $112.

She says it may not sound like much, but to her, it is.  Johnson says she couldn't have done it without 3 On Your Side's involvement. "That could be Christmas presents for my children; it could be food money," she said, when she thinks of how the $112 could help out right now. "It could be any money. My electric bill. It could be anything," she said.

By the way, SimonMed Imaging tells 3 On Your Side they have reviewed a few of Johnson's phone call logs to their facility, and acknowledge that Johnson was passed around from representative to representative.  An executive with the facility says that following their internal investigation, they have tightened up their procedures to ensure this doesn't happen to other customers.