One man's drastic action gets Blue Cross to deliver

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One man wouldn't take no for an answer from the insurance giant.

You can't ignore someone who won't take no for an answer.

Joe Rabiega went to Blue Cross corporate headquarters in Durham determined to get the health insurance coverage he'd paid for.

And he refused to leave until it was done.

Rabiega recorded parts of his one-man protest at Blue Cross. On his iPhone, you can hear the emotion in his voice.

"It's an excuse?! I mean come on, what the hell!" You can hear him say to a Blue Cross rep. "How much I've been through!"

Fed up and frustrated by the personal and professional impact of the insurance giant's system failure, Rabiega went to the source: Blue Cross Blue Shield's corporate office.

After endless hours on the phone with customer service and insurance numbers that didn't work, he came here - and threatened to stay the night.

He told BCBS that he would lock himself with his bike lock in the lobby. When ABC11 asked him whether he was serious, he replied: "I did. I did. I had it with me and I think they knew I was serious."

Rabiega is a licensed mental health therapist in Raleigh - and 90 percent of his patients are Blue Cross customers.

He says he has close to $1,000 in claims he's not getting paid for because the system failure means his clients don't have active policies.

But as a Blue Cross member himself, Rabiega's own coverage for his wife and four children has been listed as inactive as well-- even though he paid in December.

"I cannot put my wife through the anxiety and embarrassment of going to the pediatrician again or going to the pharmacy and saying, 'well we're supposed to have active coverage but we really don't.' "

And so for seven hours last Thursday at Blue Cross, from 2 p.m. until 9:30 p.m., three-and-a-half hours after the offices closed, Rabiega refused to leave until he was assured he had coverage.

He didn't use his bike lock. The company didn't call police. But a customer service supervisor finally told Rabiega what he needed to hear.

"She was calming, really reassuring. I really trusted her that she would do what she said she would do," he said.

By the next day, Rabiega's coverage was finally active.

It was also later that day -- the I-Team broke the news - that Blue Cross was beefing up security at all of its local offices.

Meantime, thousands of other customers, including many of Rabiega's clients are still waiting for a fix.

Blue Cross Blue Shield said customers should know by this week whether they'll have insurance coverage for January

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