Thousands to lose their health insurance plans(WDAY TV) - Thousands of people in North Dakota and tens of thousands in Minnesota are losing their health insurance plans. If you're on a Medicare advantage plan, you may have received a letter in the mail saying your plan will no longer be offered, starting in January. The letter adds insult to injury for a man recovering from a tragic car accident.
Larry: “First shock and then anger. This is going to hurt us real bad.”
Larry Wayman is one of 23-hundred North Dakotans and 43-thousand Minnesotans who must find a new health insurance plan by the end of the year.
Larry: “No rhyme or reason.”
An accident four years ago that took the life of his grandson, left Larry with a lot of pain.
Larry: “I still suffer from that so pain killers and all different kinds of medicines help get me through the day.”
His current Medicare advantage plan through Humana covered his prescriptions, but this letter says that plan will stop being offered in 2011. He'll have to select another plan or automatically go back to original Medicare which does not cover prescriptions.
Larry: “It's going to double amount I have to pay in every month, that's what really gets me mad.”
Humana is one of 9 companies in North Dakota dropping this type of coverage. The reason is a new federal law requiring insurance companies to enter contracts with the health care providers they work with, basically establishing a network. If they don't then they can't offer the plan. Medicare advantage plans can change every year.
Michael Fix: “Companies can choose to no longer offer the product. There is some advantages and some disadvantages to that system.”
Fix doesn't know yet if insurers failed to get a contract approved by the Center for Medicare services or whether they just didn't try, but until they do establish contracts, people like Larry will have to find a new plan.
A Humana spokesman says "fee for service" plans will still be available to people in portions of both states and the company is working on creating networks in the other areas. If you have questions on your options, you can call your state's Medicare information line. The numbers are listed on your screen.