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Horrendous experience trying to enroll in AARP United Healthcare Medicare Supplemental Insurance

I am writing this mainly to try and get the attention of someone at United Healthcare or AARP who might be willing to help me with my problem.   

I live in Oregon.  Under Oregon rules regarding Medicare Supplemental Insurance, if I choose to move from one supplemental F plan insurer to another insurer within 30 days of my birthday the new insurer must automatically enroll me in their plan without requiring a review of my health or receiving approval from their underwriting department.  I am also required to cancel my policy with my previous insurer as of the date I want the new policy to begin.

On October 24, 2018, with the help of my insurance agent, I applied online for a Medicare Supplemental F policy with United Healthcare to begin November 1, 2018.  This is within 30 days of my birthday..  I also made a call and cancelled my current plan F policy.

United Healthcare under Oregon rules should then have automatically enrolled me in their Medicare Supplemental F policy with an effective date of November 1, 2018 with literally no questions asked.

On November 1, 2018 I received a phone call from a United Healthcare (UHC) rep asking if I had received a letter from UHC.  I said I thought so but wasn't where I could access my correspondence and asked her what the letter was about.  She told me she had not access to the letter. 

I phoned and spoke to another UHC rep who told me I needed to fax a letter to them from my previous insurer that stated I had cancelled my policy with them.  I was not happy that UHC had made no attempt to contact me nor my agent about this needed letter before November 1, though they claimed to have tried calling me several times but never left a message if they were unable to reach me.  They also should have contacted my agent but did not do so.

I phoned, received and through my agent faxed a letter of cancellation from my previous insurer to UHC.  My agent received confirmation from a UHC rep that the letter was received and looked good. ( I had a bit of concern that the letter I received from my previous insurer did not specifically mention that the policy I cancelled was a supplement F plan but it did include my name and policy number and that my policy was cancelled and when the rep at UHC gave the thumbs up to my agent regarding the letter I figured that was that).

I had previously been told that as long as all materials were received by UHC by November 17, I would be insured as of November 1.

On November 7, I was starting to feel a bit anxious as UHC had received the cancellation fax a week earlier that should have resulted in my being automatically insured but was told by my agent that I still was not enrolled.  So I called and spoke to several reps at UHC (as reps in different departments are not given access to all of an applicants records much to my frustration and the reps I was speaking with).  No one could tell me what the delay was in my being enrolled.  Finally when speaking with the last rep of the day it occured to me to mention my concerns about the lack of information given on the cancellation letter from my prior insurer.  She pulled up that letter and told that sure enough that it did not have the necessary information and that I needed to get another letter and fax it in. Several times while we spoke this rep, who was very nice by the way, kept getting confused with the requirements for residents from most states and those like me from Oregon who have different and less stringent requirements for enrollment.  That is apparently those in other states should not cancel their prior insurance before being enrolled in UHC and that enrollment is not atuomatic when switching from one insurer to another.  My agent also mentioned that she was also experiencing these points of confusion from the UHC reps.

(Do I need to point out my dissapointment with UHC for never contacting me or my agent to let us know the first letter was insufficient and that I only found this out because I called UHC)?

So that day I received a new letter with all the required information from my previous insurer and again my agent faxed it in, spoke to a UHC rep who said the letter looked good and my enrollment was just around the corner. (Little did I know that it was a corner on a very long block).

Beginning November 12th my agent and I began communicating daily and she kept checking in with UHC nearly daily trying to find out what was delaying my automatic enrollment.

Yesterday, November 16th and the last day this month that I was told that UHC can guarantee my enrollment retroactive to November 1, my agent spoke to a rep who told her that UHC never received a 2nd letter from my previous insurer and that the rep was sending this to their Tier 2 team for review and that it would take 3 business days to hear back from them (this will be November 21, nearly one month to the day since my application was received online).  

So, since November 1, no one from UHC has attempted to contact me nor my agent requesting further information nor to explain delays in my automatic enrollment.

I cancelled my previous insurance as UHC insisted I do before they can enroll me and I am now without insurance for November.  I have had medical expenses in November that UHC should be paying but now it appears that I will be obligated to pay.  

UHC needs to immediately enroll me retroactive to November 1, 2018 and I would think the least they could do is waive my premium for the month of November.

Shame on UHC.

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Conversationalist

Quite a bit of dialogue here. Back and forth, finger pointing . . .

 

Oregon birthday rule not withstanding, the biggest challenge you had was trying to accomplish the change during open enrollment. For health insurance carriers (including Medicrare) this is the equivalent of the Christmas shopping season. With 50 million folks on Medicare, and all of them believing they can change plans from Oct 15 to Dec 7, the carriers are overwhelmed.

 

Something that would normally take a few days now is 2 to 3 weeks at a minimum. The closer we get to Thanksgiving the process almost comes to a halt with applictions taking over a month before they are finalized.

 

I don't work with UHC but I find it odd they would tell you to provide proof you have cancelled your existing plan BEFORE they would process your application. Every carrier application I have seen says just the opposite. Something to the effect of "Do NOT cancel existing coverage until you have been accepted by the new carrier".

 

This language would appear on the D&R form (Discontinuance and Replacement).

 

I don't know if you are still fighting this or not but decided to offer a bit of insight for others who are seeking to replace existing coverage.


Bark less. Wag more.
Newbie

I completed the full application online tonight twice , trying to enroll in  AARP supplement plan G.  I got completely done, and even put all automatic payment information in,   then got a message that the online enrollment was not working.   Any advice?

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@RobertK946207 wrote:

I completed the full application online tonight twice , trying to enroll in  AARP supplement plan G.  I got completely done, and even put all automatic payment information in,   then got a message that the online enrollment was not working.   Any advice?


Maybe call the toll free number:

https://www.aarpmedicaresupplement.com/find-a-plan.html?WT.mc_id=6D9

at the bottom below the disclosures, it says:

THESE PLANS HAVE ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS, EXCLUSIONS AND LIMITATIONS. FOR COSTS AND COMPLETE DETAILS (INCLUDING OUTLINES OF COVERAGE), CALL A LICENSED INSURANCE AGENT/PRODUCER AT THE TOLL-FREE NUMBER SHOWN.

 

You can also set up an appointment:

https://www.aarpmedicaresupplement.com/agent-appointment.html

Fill out the form to request an in-person appointment with an agent/producer contracted with UnitedHealthcare Insurance Company and authorized to offer AARP® Medicare Supplement Insurance Plans. At your appointment, you will meet with an agent/producer . . .

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@BruceG743015  Thank you for taking the time to share your experience with trying to enroll in the AARP Medicare Supplement plan, provided by United Healthcare. Your concerns have been escalated to our AARP Member Relations Team and you can expect to receive an email today.  They will assist you with this issue.

 

@GailL1  Thank you for trying to help!  

AARPTeri
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Update:  After filing a Better Business Bureau complaint, someone at United Healthcare was assigned to push through my application which she did.  By the way I was accepted under the Oregon birthday rule and now am enrolled in their supplemental F program.  I was told that UHC is going to investigate why my application was so terribly mishandled to try and prevent future applicants from going through what I had to endure.  Let's hope that is the case.

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Hey! At least they let you sign up for insurance. AARP won't let me, even though I am on SSDI due to a botched hip transplant. They tell me I am not old enough yet (63). Funny. They didn't mind taking my yearly AARP Membership Fees. 

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@BruceG743015

 

Read the Oregon rule carefully about getting the new policy, cancelling the old one and the assignment of the start date and how you must make sure that the new policy under a different insurer is the same or less than the old policy in coverage.

 

Oregon.gov - Medicare Medigap "Birthday Rule" to switch to a new carrier for a Medigap plan of equal...

 

I will also give you the Medicare.gov page dealing with switching Medigap policies and the order of actions which the beneficiaries has to complete and why.

 

Medicare.gov - Switching Medigap Policies

From the link -

How to switch Medigap policies

If you decide to change insurance companies, call the new insurance company and arrange to apply for your new Medigap policy. If your application is accepted, call your current insurance company, and ask for your coverage to end. The insurance company can tell you how to submit a request to end your coverage.

 

Medigap free-look period

You have 30 days to decide if you want to keep the new Medigap policy. This is called your "free look period." The 30-day free look period starts when you get your new Medigap policy. You'll need to pay both premiums for one month.

 

Don't cancel your first Medigap policy until you've decided to keep the second Medigap policy. On the application for the new Medigap policy, you'll have to promise that you'll cancel your first policy.

 

Just a few cautions -

1.  Make sure that you are switching to a matched plan or to one of lesser value.

 

The Plan F plan that you have chosen with UHC has to be the same or less than in coverage as the one from the previous insurer -  You cannot switch equally from a basic (standard)  type Plan F from the old insurer to one which UHC has added other benefits and calls it something like "Innovative Plan F" or "Plan F Plus" or something to that effect.

 

These  "innovative" type of Medigap plan have extra benefits added like vision, hearing, fitness programs, nurse access or other stuff - 

 

2.  As you will notice at both of those links above - the order in which thing occur is important and both caution that (2) premiums may have to be paid for one month in order to get things set up properly.

 

I cannot believe that your agent did not know this.  Maybe you need to give them a refresher course after reading this info from Medicare and the State of Oregon.

 

If I were you, I would get back with your agent with this knowledge and find out where things stand right now with the old and the new policies - maybe pay your premium with the old company if you need to to get this straightened out.

 

Let us know what happens - your experience might help others here.

Good Luck -

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I sincerely hope that I'm not understanding the first reply, here:  It would be beyond assinine if, for the rest of one's life, one could never replace a Plan F with an upgraded Plan F or a policy that offers more benefits!  What imbeciles would ever make that a law? :You must ALWAYS replace your health insurance with something equal to, or less than, the policy you now have!  Beyond nonsense!

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@sgm55 wrote:

I sincerely hope that I'm not understanding the first reply, here:  It would be beyond assinine if, for the rest of one's life, one could never replace a Plan F with an upgraded Plan F or a policy that offers more benefits!  What imbeciles would ever make that a law? :You must ALWAYS replace your health insurance with something equal to, or less than, the policy you now have!  Beyond nonsense!


A MEDICARE Supplemental policy (or a Medigap policy) is NOT health insurance - it is ONLY a gap policy that works with traditional Medicare (the actual health insurance), designed to pick up some or all of a beneficiary's out of pocket cost.

 

Medicare and a State Dept of Insurance make the rules as to who can buy a Medigap policy, when a beneficiary might be able to switch, switch to what and whether or not underwriting might be required or if any special conditions could be attached to some pre-existing condition.

 

A Medigap Insurer can bend the rules for a requested plan more lenient or with more benefits - that would be up to them and any conditions attached - underwriting, higher premiums, etc.   They can also void a policy if any application omissions are found since this would be viewed as fraud.

 

 

 

 

Contributor

Just to reiterate the usual rules do not apply in the state of Oregon.  UHC reps have agreed with what I have explained.  If your info is meant for others looking to switch insurers you are absolutely right and they must be careful not to cancel their current insurance before being enrolled in UHC.  To be clear UHC rightfully instructed me to cancel my prior insurance before they would enroll me as this is required for Oregon residents.

 

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@BruceG743015

 

In my previous post, I gave you a link to the actual Oregon rule from the Oregon government concerning the Birthday rule and what a person switching Medigap plans should do and what they couldn't do.

 

from the Oregon.gov link -

 

 Do not cancel the current Medigap policy until the new Medigap policy is issued. You may have to pay two premiums for one month to ensure a smooth transfer from the old to new policy.

 

It sounds to me like UHC has NOT ISSUED you a new policy yet.

 

If you feel that this rule and others listed on the Oregon site do not pertain to you - then just carry on as you will - guess they were written for someone else.

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Gail, I don't know why you are being so snarky here.  You are not the one going through this.  I would understand you being frustrated for me and want to lash out at United Healthcare for their treatment of me, but this is not about you.  I wish it were.  By the way, here is a link to the 2018 rules applying to switching medigap policies in Oregon for those interested rather than the outdated link Gail posted.

https://healthcare.oregon.gov/shiba/Documents/4845-31-birthday-rule-web.pdf

Also, as I prefaced in my initial post, I was writing here hoping to catch the attention of an AARP or United Healtcare representative who might help me.

I can understand if no one reads my post in full, but please refrain from giving advice before you do so.  

I have made it very clear in my post that UHC required that I cancel my previous insurance before they would start me on my requested enrollment date for my policy.

I was not given a choice.  It was either cancel your previous insurance and provide us with evidence of that cancellation or United Healthcare would not enroll me in their medicare supplemental plan F plan which was the exact same plan I had with my prior insurer.  If there is anyone who reads my post who still needs this clarified please let me know.

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@BruceG743015

 

I am not being snarky - I was,trying to help you rectify this mess.

 

Your link to the Oregon rule says the same thing as the 2015 one which I quoted from before -

from your link

Do not cancel the current Medigap policy until the new Medigap policy is issued. You may have to pay two premiums for one month to ensure a smooth transfer from the old to new policy.

 

Has your new UHC policy been issued?  

Your agent should know that they should go by the rules of the state and not what some person at UHC tells them - to cancel your old policy.

 

What you should have done and what should have transpired-

1.  You would have made application for the exact SAME or LESSER plan you wanted at AARP/UHC at or shortly after your birthday date.  Giving them a reasonable period of time to process your application.  

 

2.  Giving them a reasonable period of time to process your application -
If if your birthday was 10/24 - you should have given a start date of 12/01/2018. 

 

3.  You would have paid UHC the premium for the policy with the application for 12/01/2018.  You should have paid your old policy for the month of November.

 

4.  UHC would have notified you that your policy was issued sometimes during the month of November and then told you to cancel your old policy - sometimes they even tell you exactly how to cancel it. 

 

5.  You call your old insurance Medigap carrier and they tell you exactly how to cancel your policy.

 

You should have signed a promissary agreement with your application for the new policy, promising to cancel your own policy.

 

Again from the Medicare.gov site

 https://www.medicare.gov/supplements-other-insurance/when-can-i-buy-medigap/switching-medigap-polici...

 

How to switch Medigap policies

 

If you decide to change insurance companies, call the new insurance company and arrange to apply for your new Medigap policy. If your application is accepted, call your current insurance company, and ask for your coverage to end. The insurance company can tell you how to submit a request to end your coverage.

 

Medigap free-look period

You have 30 days to decide if you want to keep the new Medigap policy. This is called your "free look period." The 30-day free look period starts when you get your new Medigap policy. You'll need to pay both premiums for one month.

 

Don't cancel your first Medigap policy until you've decided to keep the second Medigap policy. On the application for the new Medigap policy, you'll have to promise that you'll cancel your first policy.

 

Think of this like the IRS - you have to do it their way to avoid problem.

Government, whether State or Federal, functions on rules and procedures - it slows them down and creates chaos if everybody does it different.  You might say what does a private insurance company procedures have to do with Government - it is Medicare and they have to correlate the flow from your Medicare claims with your Medigap coverage. 

 

I believe you said that you now have some claim for this month and that is going to get confusing for Medicare in processing these claims because until the new one is set up, they will continue to send them to your old insurer who is gonna kick them back to you.

 

Now UHC is asking that you complete a medical questionnaires - why?

This does not sound like they are writing the new policy without medical consideration - meaning underwriting or if they stall coverage of some pre existing condition for a few months.  But I am only going by what you have said here.

 

Hope everything works out for you but your agent does need to stay on top of this because right now your Medigap coverage for this month at least seems very vulnerable.

 

Oregon State Health Insurance Programs -2019 - Medicare

Description For Medigap plans begin on page 30

Then there is a list of insurers, plan types available and even premiums listed further down on page 35.

 

I am sorry if my comments seem snarky to you, I just don't want you to not be covered for this month by a Medigap policy or have UHC underwrite you or eliminate any pre existing condition for a few months.

 

It is your agent that seems to have screwed this up - they should have never allowed you to cancel your old policy until the new one was issued - signed, sealed, paid and delivered.

 

 

 

 

 

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I apologize to you Gail.  I do believe you are trying to help.  After calming down and rereading your response you are probably right that between my agent and United Healthcare I was given incorrect information that has left me without insurance and vulnerable. What you have posted regarding what I should have done is a bit late for me to benefit from at this point.  However, you have caused me to realize that I can't expect that United Healthcare will issue a policy to me this month even though they promised that would be the case.  I am now hoping that since my premiums were paid in full through October to my prior insurer that they will be willing to continue my coverage if I send them a premium before the end of November.  I will be calling them on Monday to see if that can be done.  Thanks again Gail and thanks for bearing with me.   

Bruce

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Hello everyone,

Please remember to post according to the community guidelines, and refrain from insults and inflammatory comments.

Thank you for your cooperation in making the AARP Community a safe and welcoming place for all.
http://community.aarp.org/t5/custom/page/page-id/Guidelines

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Quick update.  Just got off the phone with an agent at UHC.  She asked if I had received the letter sent to me on November 11.  I told her I had not.  And she told me not to worry as it can take 7-10 days for me to receive. (So why ask if I received it)? 

She said the letter included a form with medical questions I needed to answer before my enrollment would be considered.

I again explained to her about the rules in Oregon not requiring this and she said she was familiar with the differences and that she felt I might want to speak to a manager about UHC's inability to properly process my application.  So, she has left a note for a manager to call me and I should hear from someone Monday or Tuesday.

So to recap, yesterday my agent spoke to a rep who never mentioned that a letter was sent out requesting medical questions be answered but instead she was told that my enrollment was being held up because the letter from my previous insurer indicating I had cancelled insurance with them was never received.

Look in the dictionary for the word frustrated and my picture wll be there with a note about having to interact with United Healthcare. Smiley Frustrated

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