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3 On Your Side

Glendale man battles out-of-network medical bill

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Albert Barbosa asked Aetna who would be a good in-network doctor but he said he was given the name of an out-of-network doctor. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Albert Barbosa asked Aetna who would be a good in-network doctor but he said he was given the name of an out-of-network doctor. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Barbosa says he did everything by the book and says if anyone is to blame, it's Aetna. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Barbosa says he did everything by the book and says if anyone is to blame, it's Aetna. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Barbosa was hit with $651 in out-of-network bills. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Barbosa was hit with $651 in out-of-network bills. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
(3 ON YOUR SIDE) -

Albert Barbosa says he's in pretty good health and keeps an active lifestyle.

“I go to the gym a few times a week. I exercise. I'm a mechanic so I'm up and down on the vehicles all the time,” Barbosa said.

But it was a simple head cold recently that sent him over the edge.

“When I did get sick, it went for a couple of weeks and it turned into an ear infection so I needed to see a doctor,” Barbosa said.

Barbosa doesn't have a primary care physician, but he does have health insurance through Aetna.

So, he contacted Aetna, both online and over the phone to find out what doctor he could see that was considered in-network.

Barbosa went to the doctor and was able to get over his ear infection.

However, it's the medical bill that he can't seem to get over now.

“I got a bill for $651.79 for getting antibiotics. That's it. That's all I got,” Barbosa said.

Why such a big bill?

“They're telling me because I went to an out-of-network provider. And I'm like, 'How did I get an out-of-network provider when I called Aetna, I gave you my plan number, and you gave me the doctor.' How much more diligence do I have to do,” Barbosa said.

Barbosa says he did everything by the book and says if anyone is to blame, it's Aetna.

“They denied my claim because I went to an out-of-network doctor and I was like, 'We all know that we went to an out-of-network doctor. That's not the question. The question is who sent me to the out of network doctor,'” Barbosa said.

Barbosa says he been trying to resolve this issue for weeks but continues to get the runaround.

So, 3 On Your Side got involved and asked Aetna to investigate. They did and acknowledged that their representatives accidentally gave Barbosa the wrong information.

That means Barbosa won't be responsible for the $651 in out-of-network bills.

Barbosa says he owes it all to 3 On Your Side.

"It all got resolved within maybe a two-week period, if that, what I'd been working on for over a month," Barbosa said. 

Thank you to Aetna. They were great to work with and resolved the matter quickly. 

Copyright 2017 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.


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Gary HarperGary Harper is the senior consumer and investigative reporter for 3 On Your Side at KTVK-TV.

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Gary Harper
3 On Your Side

With more than 20 years of television experience, Gary has established himself as a leader in the industry when it comes to assisting viewers and resolving their consumer-related issues. His passion and enthusiasm have helped him earn an Emmy for Best Consumer Reporter from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. He’s also garnered several Emmy nominations

He has negotiated resolutions with companies of all sizes, including some of the biggest corporations in the nation.

Gary has successfully recouped more than $1 million for viewers around the state, making 3 On Your Side one of the most popular segments on KTVK and the station's Web site.

He's best known for investigating and confronting unscrupulous contractors. In fact, many of his news reports have led to police investigations and jail time for those who were caught. Viewers, as well as the companies and people he investigates, regard him as consistently being thorough and fair.

Gary has been with KTVK-TV since 1997. Prior to his arrival in Phoenix, he worked for WZZM-TV in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he was as an anchor and reporter.

Gary is from Chicago, but launched his television career in Lubbock, Texas, after earning a broadcast journalism degree from Texas Tech University. Following his graduation, he was quickly hired by KLBK-TV in Lubbock, where he enterprised and broke numerous exclusive reports. His aggressive reporting in Texas helped garner him Best Reporter by the Associated Press.

Gary has been married since 1994 and is the proud father of two sons. When he's not helping viewers, Gary is busy catching up on his favorite college and professional football teams as well as cheering on his beloved Texas Tech Red Raiders.

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