Officials with the Tennessee Department of Insurance say they are investigating after getting complaints about letters sent by Humana Inc. to policyholders about their options under the Affordable Care Act.
The Courier-Journal reported that Insurance Commissioner Sharon Clark said her office has received multiple calls about the letters, which she described as “misleading intentionally.”
The letters were sent to about 6,500 people, including Ray Brundige, 63, of Louisville.
Brundige’s letter said he can keep his current health insurance, which has a $279 monthly premium, or choose one that complies with the new federal law, which would cost $619 monthly.
The letter gave him until Sept. 20 to make a decision, 11 days before the start of Kentucky’s health benefit exchange, which will help people find affordable policies that comply with the law.
Humana One director of consumer experiences Kevin Gibson said customers can still shop on the exchange and cancel coverage later.
Brundige said it’s not fair for insurers to try to rush customers into making decisions before they know what’s available on the exchange.
“They are not giving people the ability to make an informed choice, because the information is not yet out there,” Brundige said. “They’re doing themselves and the community a disservice.”
Gibson said Brundige’s potential increase is based on his current “bare-bones” plan, which won’t be allowed under the new law.
“Current coverage, location, age and income level are among the factors that will determine whether someone’s out-of-pocket premium will increase or decrease in 2014, and by how much,” Gibson said.
He said Humana is sending letters to customers to explain their choices.
“If someone wants to explore their options for on-exchange coverage and financial assistance, Humana can help them do so, starting Oct. 1,” Gibson said.
Humana spokeswoman Kate Marx said the company is “cooperating with the (state insurance) department to address this issue and respond to any member concerns.”
“Based on conversations with our members and the DOI, we feel the need to clarify that although we’ve asked for a 30-day selection, we will continue to make ourselves available to assist members with plan selections until the end of the year,” she said.