Hundreds of Seniors Kicked-Off Medicare Programs

By KBJR News 1

December 28, 2010 Updated Dec 28, 2010 at 12:40 PM CDT

Duluth, MN (Northland's NewsCenter) -- Hundreds of seniors in the Twin Ports are finding themselves in a bind...after receiving letters from their insurance companies saying they'll soon be dropped from their Medicare programs.

Certain policies under Unicare and Humana will no longer be options come the new year.

Over the last several years, a lot of senior citizens have signed up for these Medicare programs partly because the premiums were low.

But these plans didn't guarantee coverage and now new legislation passed by congress says these plans have to go.

So what options do people have?

The letter describes other plans seniors can sign on to...but some of them are nearly double the price.

The Minnesota Citizens Federation Northeast in Duluth has assisted numerous people who have received these letters...and say there are other more affordable options out there, and the federation's Senior Partners Care program may be one of them.

"Which enables people on Medicare with a modest income, there's an income limit, to basically use our program in place of having to pay for one of these Medicare supplements, so we have agreements with local doctors and hospitals where they're accepting what Medicare pays them as reimbursement in full...which is about 20 percent of the bill, so the remaining 20 percent they are waiving and not charging people," said Buddy Robinson.

Single people with an annual income of $21,660 or couples making $29,400 are eligible to enroll.

The Minnesota Citizens Federation Northeast says Essential Health in Duluth decided on it's own two years ago to no longer honor these PFFS policies because they were often unreliable in paying and because they sometimes left patients with shockingly high bills to pay on their own.

People can get more information by calling 218-727-0207, or visiting the Citizens Federation website at www.citizensfed.org.