We think Humana has a crush on Dean’s elderly father. They must, because that seems to be the only explanation for why they won’t let him cancel his supplemental Medicare insurance policy: they care for him too dearly and can’t stand to let him go. The run-around, contradictory answers, outright lies, the monthly deducting of $42.70 a month from his Social Security check that is barely enough to pay for groceries, it’s all love.
Dean writes, “Hi Consumerist,
My elderly father, whose only income is Social Security, decided in September he wasn’t going to renew his Humana supplemental Medicare insurance this year. He hasn’t been on the medications he needed the policy for for months, having switched to cheaper generics, so paying Humana $42.70 every month for a service he can’t use is a waste, especially when he is struggling just to get by. So in early September he called the phone number Humana lists on their correspondence and talked to a customer service representative, who told him he wouldn’t be able to cancel his insurance policy until after November 15th, when the enrollment period for 2010 starts, and to call back then.
In mid-November my father called Humana and canceled his policy. Or so he thought. The Humana customer service representative assured him his Humana insurance would not be renewed, and he would not be charged again.
In mid-January Humana automatically deducted the insurance premium, $42.70, from my father’s social security check. Another call to Humana and Social Security assured him this was because it was already in the system but that it would not happen again. But he would be out the full price for that month’s insurance premium.
In mid-February Humana once again automatically withdrew $42.70 from his Social Security check. This time when my father called Humana the customer service representative was very rude, and told him his policy was never canceled. Then the rep said that the only way to cancel his insurance was by email, and that no email had been received. Nevermind that my elderly father has never used the Internet, does not own a computer, and has never corresponded by email with Humana. After informing Humana of this, the representative then changed his story and said the only way to cancel his premium was to contact Social Security, which couldn’t happen that day because Social Security offices were closed for President’s Day. Note that first the rep said only Humana could cancel the policy, then claimed only Social Security could cancel an independent, third-party insurance policy.
The next day my father talked to Social Security, who told him it was up to Humana to cancel his policy, and that Humana was still automatically withdrawing his insurance premiums from his Social Security check. The Social Security representative filed a complaint against Humana for my father, and told him to once again call Humana.
Meanwhile, I went and checked Humana’s website. Humana’s own website says the only way to contact Humana is by phone. They do not list an email address, or have a online form that can be completed and submitted. Which means the second Humana representative was lying when he told my father the only way to cancel a policy was by email.
After digging around on Humana’s website for a few minutes, I found a page called, “Important Medicare Dates To Remember.” That page says that from November 15-December 31, Seniors are able to enroll in plans, which I would also expect means they can choose not to renew their policies at that time as well.
Another call to Social Security again told him only Humana can cancel Human’s policies. My father called back Humana, and again was greeted by a rude customer service representative who now told him the only way to cancel an insurance policy was by mailing Humana a request to cancel. When my father asked why this was at least the fourth different way Humana required him to cancel his policy, the representative threatened to report my father to a collection agency, which is an idiotic threat since the money is being automatically withheld from his checks. My father has no choice of whether to pay the premiums.
So which is it, Humana? Which way can seniors’ cancel their policies? By calling, as the first representative said? By emailing, as the second rep said, (ignoring that no email contact with Humana is possible)? By contacting Social Security, as the second rep later changed his story to, (and Social Security says they cannot stop Humana from automatically withdrawing money from Social Security checks)? Or is it by mailing a letter asking Humana nicely to stop stealing money from seniors who canceled their policy?
My father has jumped through every hoop Humana has required to formally cancel his policy. Humana needs to cancel my father’s insurance policy immediately, and issue my father an $85.40 refund, which they stole from his Social Security checks.
How many other senior citizens is Humana stealing from? This is a mult-billion dollar company, stealing from the poorest citizens our nation has. How many millions of dollars is Humana stealing every year by taking advantage of our seniors, many of whom probably get confused or frustrated by the never-ending lies Humana tells them and simply give up? Humana is counting on seniors not being able to stand up to a giant corporation.
Shame on you, Humana. What a low-down, dirty, vile thing to do. Shame on you.
In February my father sent Humana a letter requesting to cancel his coverage. Then on March 1st, Humana sent him a letter with a survey informing him he has to complete the survey and mail it back to cancel his coverage. So he called Humana once again to get this taken care of. This time they tell him they cannot cancel his coverage this year and he will have to continue paying his full insurance premium every month for all of 2010.
So now Humana has told a senior citizen that his coverage was canceled by speaking with a representative on the phone. Then he was told his insurance was not, nor could it be canceled on the phone. Then he was told he could only cancel by talking to Social Security. Social Security said they cannot cancel a third-party insurance policy, only Humana can cancel their own policy. Then Humana told him the only way he could cancel is by email. Next he was told to inform Humana in writing to cancel. Then he had to complete and mail back a Humana survey in order to cancel. Now they told him he cannot cancel his coverage for 2010, and that his premiums will be automatically deducted from his meager Social Security checks every month until the end of the year, when he can start this entire process over. A quick call to Social Security told him this is not true, and that Humana can cancel his insurance policy at any time.
I ask again, WHY IS HUMANA STEALING FROM SENIOR CITIZENS???
We’ve been in touch with Humana who said they are looking into Dean’s father’s case. Dean could also consider filing a complaint with his state’s Insurance Commissioner and AG.