This is not a mistake. This is done for "Out of Network" providers, and mainly when the patient is an Anthem member, be it Blue Shield or Blue Cross. Even though an "Assignment of Benefits" is completed by the patient, and all fields on the claim from (CMS1500 or UB04) are completed assigning the benefits to the provider, Anthem has placed in their policy that the Assignment of Benefits the patient signs is null and void.
No other carrier that I have come across conducts business in this manner. Is it smart? Absolutely not! They have now consumed their member's time in trying to figure out which provider the check is actually for, the member now is responsible for forwarding the payment, or the patient spends the check thinking Anthem made a mistake on their monthly premium at some point (odds are slim) and is now in debt thousands of dollars because they don't check with Anthem.
It creates a huge mess for providers, not only have we chased Anthem for payment, but now we have to chase the patient and 50% of the time, never see the payment in our office. It creates more phone calls to Anthem, but what do they care, they are paying pennies on the dollar for their representatives in the Philippines to read from a script.
Anthem is the second largest insurance carrier in the US. Their profit was over 800 million dollars within 3 months. The way they see it, we issued payment, so stop calling us. It's amazing how they can accept a CMS1500, but not follow the guidelines associated with it.
Your best bet, and what we suggest to patients, either deposit the check and write your a personal check or endorse and forward. I personally would deposit the check and write a personal check for tracking purposes; however, keep in mind that in the future, you may depend on your bank statements for proof of income (e.g. Social Security) and imagine the work having to explain, and prove, a $20,000 deposit and withdraw within the same month.