We've all become accustomed to hearing about greedy drug company executives blasting the price of some old generic medicine into the stratosphere to make big bucks, but much less dramatic moves can also generate lots of money.
I’m on Medicare and have Part D insurance from Humana. When my wife and I signed up five years ago, the monthly premium was $15. Later it was doubled to $29.60. We just let it go and kept on paying. Now, for 2020, we’ve been notified by Humana that the monthly premium will double again to $61.60.
I went to Medicare.gov, plugged in my three low priced generic daily meds and my pharmacy, and was presented with a list of insurance options, starting with Humana at $13 and change a month!
I called Humana to ask what gives, and the cheerful woman I got told me that our plan has been renamed “Premium,” which I then discovered it indeed said on the booklet they sent. I protested that my piddling prescriptions don’t normally even hit the deductible each year, so I’d receive a minuscule benefit from the new “premium” designation. Plus the 17-page “Annual Notice of Changes” booklet doesn’t explain why the monthly price is doubling. She said I could then choose the $13 plan if I wanted.
Bottom line: Humana is apparently automatically switching who knows how many people to a more expensive plan with somewhat different drug prices without actually explaining their options to them. Instead of presenting this plan and telling customers they can opt in, they are switching people en masse and if they inquire, telling them they can opt out.
This, I assume, would bring in lots more moolah from people who don’t look carefully and just shrug off the 100% premium increase as “just $30 more a month.”
I think this is a non-kosher way to do business.
Larry Carson, Columbia
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