Walgreens worker says insurer didn't pay for surgery

Kelly Holleran Jul. 29, 2009, 11:00am

A Walgreens employee claims her insurance company refused to pay her medical bills for surgery she had on her neck.

Tonya Eller filed a lawsuit July 23 in St. Clair County Circuit Court against Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois.

Tonya Eller claims she had an insurance plan through her husband, Chester Eller, and was entitled to all benefits allowed members under the policy.

On Nov. 15, Tonya Eller was involved in an automobile accident and received medical treatment from various providers after the collision, according to the complaint.

One of Tonya Eller's healthcare providers, Dr. Brett Taylor, recommended she have surgery on her neck, so on May 18, Tonya Eller underwent the procedure, the suit states.

Medical bills for the surgery were sent to Blue Cross Blue Shield, but the insurance company has refused to pay the invoices, the complaint says.

"As a result of Defendant's breach of contract, Plaintiff has become liable for medical bills in excess of $150,000, which are currently outstanding," the suit states.

In the two-count suit, Tonya Eller is seeking a judgment in excess of $50,000, plus interest, costs, attorney's fees and other relief the court deems just. She is also seeking reimbursement for her medical bills, plus either 60 percent of the amount the court determines she is entitled to or $60,000.

Thomas C. Rich and Jennifer L. Barbieri of the law office of Thomas C. Rich in Fairview Heights will be representing her.

St. Clair County Circuit Court case number: 09-L-392.

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