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Letter gives dose of bad medicine by mistake

By KRIS HUNDLEY

© St. Petersburg Times,
published October 8, 2001


Humana Inc. had some unpleasant news to deliver to its Medicare HMO members recently: Next year, they'll pay more for generic drugs and extended hospital stays.

But the Louisville, Ky., health insurer had some good news as well. Unlike AvMed Health Plan and BlueCross BlueShield of Florida, Humana isn't withdrawing from any of its local markets. And best of all, the Medicare HMO will continue to have a zero premium.

That's not the message local members received.

During the first week of October, Pinellas County Humana members got a letter telling them their monthly premiums would rise to $40 next year.

Wrong, said Pam Gadinsky, spokeswoman for the company, who blamed the error on a printer. Seems that Humana members in Wyandotte County, Kan., were supposed to get the $40 premium notice. In the Tampa Bay area, the premium will indeed be zero. Letters to that effect are in the mail.

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