On Why I Would Not Recommend Humana Insurance

Usually I do not post overly personal reflections on here, but I am frustrated enough that I felt the need to recommend that you not use HumanaOne if you are seeking new insurance coverage–particularly if it is short-term coverage.

Last year, my wife and I had a joint short-term policy with HumanaOne while we were both between jobs. When my wife found a job through which she received health insurance, I needed to cancel the joint policy and begin a short-term policy for myself.

I cannot recall precisely how I applied, but I cancelled the joint policy and scheduled a new policy to begin on September 4, 2012. I received my welcome packet, ID card and payment stubs and began sending in payments for all of the pay stubs provided.

October came and I sent in my payment, which was processed. November came and I sent in my payment, but it was not processed.

On November 24, I received a letter (dated Nov. 16) from HumanaOne stating that my check was being returned “per customer service request.” No other explanation was given.

I called and was told that they had not received an initial payment so my policy had been terminated. As a side note, I have had many insurance policies in my life and never have I been able to enroll without the company receiving an initial payment.

While I do not show the payment in my bank records, I cannot understand (nor could the HumanaOne representative explain to me) how I was enrolled and issued a policy without an initial payment.

For full disclosure, the welcome letter did note an initial payment due on Sept. 4, 2012, but I assumed that I had already paid it as the letter was dated Sept. 12, 2012 (it did not arrive until roughly a week after this, around Sept. 19) and as there was no payment invoice slip for the initial payment.

I did receive invoice slips to include with the payments for Oct. 2012 through Feb. 2013, and I sent payment on time using the Oct. and Nov. invoice slips.

Again, since I did not receive a pay stub for the initial payment, it is unclear how I could have sent a payment designated to my new policy prior to my welcome letter since I did not know my policy number.

The payment would need to have been processed through an online or over-the-phone transaction. I cannot recall whether this happened, but if I provided payment information is obviously did not go through. Again, how I was mailed an insurance card and payment invoices for all of the payments except the initial payment I cannot understand.

Back to November 2012. I was frustrated, but I simply chose to enroll in a short-term policy with another company and thought nothing more of it–assuming that I had at least been covered between the initial policy day and the date they returned my check.

When I enrolled in a regular, long-term policy in 2013, I had to request certificates of creditable coverage from HumanaOne for the short-term policies. I have always received these automatically from every other insurance company I have had, but it was no surprise that HumanaOne had not sent them and that I had to call them to ask for them.

As a slightly humorous aside, the representative that day told me that he was having computer issues and could not get it to process the request for the certificates to be mailed. He said he had tried multiple times without success, but about a week later I received roughly 6-7 copies of the certificates.

Moving on. When I looked at my certificates, all of them, to my surprise (though it seems foolish to be surprised), the certificate for the policy they cancelled showed that I had never been covered at all. “Effective date: 9/4/12. Term date: 9/3/12,” it read.

Annoyed, I called HumanaOne and spent at least 20 minutes on the phone explaining what happened to two different representatives. I asked that they correct the certificate so that it could at least show coverage for the one month’s payment they processed, and I could re-submit it to my new insurance company to have the waiting period waived.

While the representatives were very nice, they would not adjust the coverage certificate even though the company did not notify me until 2 months and 20 days after my coverage was said to begin (and had processed a payment).

I did succeed in having them put in a request to refund my payment from October 2012, which they accepted (and did not refund) even though I apparently had no policy with them at the time (according to the certificate of creditable coverage). So, that is a silver lining.

Again, while the initial payment was, indeed, not processed, I cannot understand how a company can issue a policy, not send a payment invoice requesting the initial payment, process a month’s payment (using the payment slip provided), return a second month’s payment without explanation and then say that I was not covered by them for any period of time.

This is frustrating because if they had returned the first payment I sent using the stubs provided, I could have re-enrolled and avoided the 63 day lapse that wasn’t really a lapse.

Obviously, as a short-term policy holder, I am a peon in the insurance world so I have little, if any, leverage to compel HumanaOne to admit that they mishandled this and work with me to address the so-called “lapse” in coverage that I now show.

All that to say, the reason I am frustrated is that I have had the good fortune to be able to afford health insurance my entire life. And, between jobs, I had purchased short-term policies to ensure that when I purchased long-term coverage I could have the waiting period waived.

Instead, through what I believe was an error by HumanaOne, I now show a lapse in coverage of more than 63 days and my current insurance company will (understandably) not be waiving the waiting period.

If it is legal to do what was done, it is an obviously unfair and unethical to:

  • Send a welcome packet with insurance ID card notifying me of coverage without confirming receipt of a initial payment and without sending a payment invoice with the welcome packet asking for the initial payment;
  • Not notify the consumer of an unreceived payment;
  • Accept a month’s payment (for coverage that never was established, apparently);
  • Return a second payment without explanation; and
  • Inform me 82 days later that coverage was never effective only after I called to find out why my payment was returned.

Ironically, I receive much better service from my Internet service provider. They required an upfront payment and ensured that it had been made before issuing equipment. In addition, they email me a monthly reminder that a payment is due (previously they mailed me a monthly pay stub) and send a follow up reminder on the day payment is due.

Additionally, although I have not missed a payment or even made a late payment, they have grace enough to not immediately cancel my services without notice should I forget a payment or send it in after the due date.

Thankfully, I am healthy and not in need of tests or procedures right now. That said, it is the principal of the matter that is frustrating. I wish that I had the time and resources to see what I could do to put pressure HumanaOne on this matter so that they are unable to this to other consumers, but I have neither the time,  money or energy.

Having said all of this, while I am sure that this is a somewhat unique circumstance, I would recommend considering another insurance company besides HumanaOne. For now, this will be the extent of my protest against HumanaOne…unless I decide to turn this into a letter to their CEO.

**UPDATE:

On the morning of Nov. 16, I received an email from Humana notifying me that a refund of $67.90 had been processed and sent to me. The payment amount that should have been refunded was $87.90. It is likely that they decided to charge me some sort of processing fee of $20.00. I will be interested to see the letter of explanation with the check when (if) it arrives. I was quite amused that they can email me this notification, but did not notify me of not receiving a payment or the cancellation of my policy. And, as I noted, the returned check didn’t even notify me of the reason for the return. Yet another reason why I do not recommend anyone using Humana for their insurance provider.

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