CMS investigates Humana letter to beneficiaries on health reform

CMS has launched an investigation of Humana after questions were raised over letters it sent to its beneficiaries on the subject of health reform. Officials are looking into the issue of whether Humana used scare tactics when it reached out to Medicare Advantage members and took a stand on health reform legislation.

In the letter, Humana allegedly claims that current health reforms could hurt millions of senior and disabled individuals by taking away important benefits and needed services. The letter could possibly violate federal regulations, CMS leaders said.

CMS has now ordered Humana to stop sending out such letters. It's also sent out its own warning to every health plan that sells Medicare Advantage coverage, as well as those selling drug plans, informing execs that they could face legal penalties if they send out letters attempting to scare seniors into taking a health reform position.

The impetus for the CMS investigation came from Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT), who has spoken harsh words about Humana and any other insurer that might get mixed up in health reform politics.

To learn more about this issue:
- read this Kaiser Health News piece