PRINCETON — Saturday’s mail brought stunning news for more than 1,000 retired public employees. It carried notification that their Humana- Medicare health insurance had been canceled, effective Jan. 1, at the request of Social Security Services.
After phoning automated help lines throughout the weekend and waiting until Monday morning to speak with Humana customer service representatives, those shocked retirees were notified that the situation was all a big mistake.
“The letter was sent in error,” Humana Media Specialist Jeff Blunt said Monday afternoon.
While Mercer County Humana clients reported a variety of explanations they received Monday, Blunt said he was uncertain why the letters were drafted or mailed.
“Something triggered these letters to go. They absolutely should be disregarded.
We’ve verified that these members have not been without coverage and will not be without coverage,” Blunt said. “It was caught very quickly.”
Delivery of the letters may have been tied to ZIP codes of Humana clients. Blunt was not certain which ZIP codes were affected, but JoAnna Fredeking, president of the local chapter of National Association of Retired Federal Employees was among one of the clients to get the cancellation notice.
She advised that she had received calls from approximately 25 local members who received the same shocking notice.
When she called the customer care number on her insurance documentation, Fredeking said that the automated system advised that her insurance had taken effect Jan. 1. Others who talked with the Princeton Times over the weekend and Monday, received no such confirmation.
Fredeking said she checked with the local Humana account executive, E. Scott Rogers, who reportedly advised that the letters should never have left Humana offices.
While Fredeking said she always felt certain that the cancellation notices were sent in error, she understood why recipients were concerned.
“Because of all of the things going on in Washington and with health care, people are just scared right now,” she said.
The retired public employees affected were covered by Public Employees Insurance Agency while they were working. Once they achieved 65 years of age or were added to Medicare rosters on disability, their supplemental insurance earned for retirement was shifted to Humana.
Blunt said the Humana-Medicare clients who received the erroneous letters would soon receive notice that those notices should be disregarded. However, he believed most of those clients had already spoken with customer service representatives Monday.
-- Contact Tammie Toler at firstname.lastname@example.org.