A Different Kind of Surprise for Seniors 

Hundreds of thousands of seniors might have received a bill for up to five months' premiums, which they didn't realize weren't paid, due to a Social Security Administration mistake according to Kaiser Health News. That's because the SSA made an error and didn't deduct the premiums from seniors' Social Security checks, and didn't pay seniors' insurance plans. About 250,000 seniors with private plans are affected. Some will be required to pay, while others may receive cancellation notices.

At least a quarter of a million Medicare beneficiaries may receive bills for as many as five months of premiums they thought they already paid. But they shouldn’t toss the letter in the garbage. It’s not a scam or a mistake.

Humana spokesman Mark Mathis said about 33,000 members were affected — or fewer than 1% of its total Medicare membership. None of those members lost coverage. The company blamed Medicare’s nearly 15-year-old IT systems for the failure and urged the agency to invest in new equipment.

United Healthcare representative said none of its 32,000 Medicare Advantage or Part D members affected by the SSA problem lost coverage. The company has the highest Medicare enrollment in the U.S.
These and other affected insurers must allow their members at least two months from the billing date to pay. And they must offer a payment plan for those who can’t pay several months of premiums at once, Medicare said.