Operations chief at Blue Cross abruptly quits
Posted April 5
Raleigh, N.C. — Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina Chief Operating Officer Alan Hughes has quietly resigned as the company continues working to resolve customer problems that started more than three months ago.
Blue Cross promoted Chief Financial Officer Gerald Petkau to COO to oversee customer service, claims processing, project management and IT, and Chief Accounting Officer and Treasurer Mitch Perry takes on Petkau's former role as CFO.
No reason was provided for Hughes' departure, but the state's largest health insurer opened the year with about 25,000 customers who were either enrolled in plans they never signed up for or had the wrong amount of money drafted from their bank accounts. Others waited weeks for identification cards to prove to providers that they had health coverage.
The company's customer service center was swamped by thousands of irate calls, leaving many people frustrated and even angrier because they couldn't speak to anyone to get their problems addressed.
Chief Executive Brad Wilson said last month that the volume of calls to the customer service center had ebbed back to normal levels, but Blue Cross was still weeks away from resolving customer problems.
Hundreds of complaints to state officials also prompted Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin to order a performance audit of Blue Cross to determine whether any state regulations were violated. That audit is still underway.