MEDICARE HMOs: Disabled Register Complaint with DOC
Disabled residents have registered a complaint with the state Department of Corporations charging that Health Net raised Medigap premiums 102% after it withdrew its Medicare HMO from some rural counties. The Chico Enterprise-Record reports that a handful of Glenn, Colusa and Plumas county residents contacted the Health Insurance Counseling and Advocacy Program (HICAP), which sent a letter to the DOC contending that the disabled enrollees "were given the impression ... that no increases were likely to occur prior to June 1999." In her letter to the DOC, HICAP Director Clare Smith said, "Not only are coverage options extremely limited due to the unavailability of supplemental insurance and HMOs, but the costs are prohibitive. ... The premium increase is salt in the wound." Health Net spokesperson Ron Yukelson said the HMO "wasn't aware of the details of the HICAP complaint and could not comment immediately." DOC spokesperson Julie Stewart said the complaint will be forwarded to the department's health plans division for review (Mitchell, 2/17).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.