Some insurers misleading customers about options under the ACA

November 8, 2013

Some insurance companies, when canceling healthcare policies, have not been telling customers that cheaper policies may be available through insurance exchanges.

Some people whose health insurance has been canceled due to the coverage requirements of the Affordable Care Act  may wind up paying more than they need to for purchasing replacement policies.

A recent article on the website Talkingpointsmemo.com details how some insurance companies, when sending policy cancellation notices to customers, try to reenroll the customers in costlier polices without also telling them about options available through the health insurance exchanges. Letters with “misleading” information have been sent to residents of Colorado, Kentucky, Missouri, and Washington State, the article says.

According to the article, state regulators in Kentucky fined Louisville-based Humana, Inc. $65,000 for sending letters to policyholders that contained “misleading” information about insurance options. The state’s insurance commissioner, Sharon Clark, also released residents who had signed up for new Humana policies before the October 1 start of the healthcare exchanges from their obligation to Humana.

The article quotes an emailed response from a Humana spokesman to questions about the letter as saying, “In retrospect, the letter could have been more consumer-friendly and we’ve rewritten it with that in mind We are continuing to work closely with the Department of Insurance to ensure our messaging is clear and not adding confusion to consumers during this period of … transition.”

State insurance regulators in Missouri and Colorado also have received complaints about misleading letters from Humana, according to the article. Under pressure from Colorado regulators, Humana sent an apology and corrected letter to residents of that state.

n Washington State, insurance commissioner Mike Kreidler, reminded residents in a September consumer alert, “Don’t just take what your insurance company says, make sure you shop around.”