Humana Drops Medicare/Medicaid Drug Plan Members

In a Securities and Exchange Commission filing this week, Louisville-based insurer Humana announced it needed to drop prescription drug care coverage for hundreds of thousands of people in order to make profit goals.  The company reported it was spending too much on a particularly vulnerable population, who will be reassigned to other drug coverage plans. They include more than 300,000 Humana customers who receive both federal assistance through Medicare and state assistance through Medicaid.  These so-called “dual eligibles” are low income people who don’t pay premiums but often a small co-pay.  Humana will notify participants that their coverage is changing as of January 2009.  Kaiser Family Foundation medicare expert Tricia Neuman says the problem people will face is not a lack of other insurance plans.

“The challenge is really trying to understand how these plans work, making sure the plans cover the drugs that they need, and that’s not necessarily a sure thing,” Neuman says.

Neuman also says that this population tends to be older, taking many medications, and in poor health.  And she says the concern is that changing plans could be stressful.  However, she says they should check to make sure their new plan covers all the medications they take.