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Secure Horizons Health Insurance Could Be Hazardous To Your Wealth
Posted by MaryBronnimann on 05/05/2009
DENVER, COLORADO -- Can Secure Horizons Insurance Be Hazardous to Your Wealth?

In the Fall of 2008, I retired and applied for Medicare with Part A and B. The school district where I worked had several plans and companies that could be used along with Medicare for medical needs. I chose Secure Horizons part of United Health Care, and their most expensive policy. I contacted my doctor for a physical exam with normal blood tests. One additional test was a Vitamin D blood test to diagnose possible future osteoporosis as it ran in the family. Later on this Spring, flu-like symptoms required that I go back to the doctor again. She ordered tests for thyroid and gall bladder.

Then, the fun began. I began receiving statements from Secure Horizons insurance denying payment for many of the blood tests. I began dialing the laboratory, the doctor’s office, and the Secure Horizons about the bills. The laboratory responded that this was the responsibility of the insurance company. The doctor’s office submitted the paperwork twice and each time it came back denied. Secure Horizons played dumb and said it wasn’t their responsibility. The doctor’s office asked me to keep waiting, but this was hard to do when I was flooded with hundreds of dollars of bills for no reason. When trying to get help, a customer representative at Secure Horizons named ” Gigi,” informed me that her supervisor was on a “conference call” when I asked who the CEO was. I wanted to send him a press release. Her manager, she replied, could not get back to me for two hours. Needless to say, I found the CEO’s name immediately on the internet. Is there a plot afoot at United Health Care/Secure Horizons to issue blanket denials on claims? (See note below regarding out of network gouging by United Healthcare). Deciding which insurance company will best meet your needs is difficult because there are so many unknowns. Even customer satisfaction surveys have their limits. However, leaving customers with more out of pocket expense is no the way to do business. Enough said.

Note:” Thanks to the New York Attorney General we now know that insurance companies were in fact, swindling members who sought out-of-network care. Several insurance companies, including United Healthcare, CIGNA and Aetna, have agreed to pay millions of dollars to settle an investigation into how they set the rates for out-of-network care. It turns out the provider rates the insurance companies were claiming to be "usual and customary" were much lower than what providers were actually charging, leaving patients to pay a much higher portion of the bill.”

Imagine what my problems would have been if I had ad a cancer diagnosis. Too scary to imagine.

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Posted by Bosephus on 2009-06-04:
IF you think thats bad, read my review of this company
Posted by MaryBronnimann on 2009-06-05:
Thanks for the interesting story about Secure Horizons/AARP. What a pity AARP has turned from being an advocate for the elderly, into collusion with and insurance company that denies claims. I am dropping my covereage with Secure Horizons in November. Things I don't like about Secure Horizons include: Customer Service is really bad, long delays, lies, representives who seldom know anything about how claims are paid. Also Secure Horizons takes over from Medicare instead of providing supplemental insurance, which means they create a stumbling block to bonafide claims. It was fortunate that I found out about this company before I actually had a serious illness such as your mother did. I sent my press release, to the president and vice president of Secure Horizons by mail. Needless to say, I have heard nothing. They evidently just don't care.
Posted by Lifemates on 2010-10-12:
"Could Be Hazardous To Your Wealth"

This is a good line, I enjoyed it a lot.
Posted by MaryBronnimann on 2010-10-14:
The comments that Bosephus' post in the story regarding a family member were pretty scary. Some insurance companies have you use Medicare first and some, like United Health Caare do the reverse. It seems to be better now for me with Medicare first as my new insurance policy through Blue Cross/Blue Shield has you deal first with Medicare.One of United Health Care's other flaws is that the customer service reps don't have all the details, so their power is limited. Another problem with claims is that people in a doctor's office could be submitting claims to the wrong party, which also happened in my case, slowing down the whole process.
Posted by Heidi on 2011-07-26:
Secure Horizons/AARP Med Complete is a joke! Its difficult for the patients to understand, & frustrating to providers in order to get authorizations for procedures.
I work in healthcare
Posted by Richard Jones on 2011-08-03:
I would advise anyone to think twice before getting their insurance with secure horizens. I also have been denied test that my heart doctor needed to do after having a major heart attact. And now have been denied a prescription that I need for my health. I can go to my doctor once a month and get a shot and pay my co-pay for this medicine but I ask my doctor if he could give me a prescription so I wouldn't have to come in every month. He did so but it has been denied. This would of not only saved me money but it would have saved the insurance company money. So again, I say look else where for your insurance.
Posted by Edward Dijeau, Union City, CA on 2011-11-07:
Starting in 2012, United Health Care will no longer offer employer groups Secure Horizons HMO and will cut 60% of the Doctors and Hospitals eligable for the remaining PPO plans. Retiree families will be excluded from the HMO plans as well with non-medicare dependents following the primary Member into the PPO plan. I just received my new card with a new Doctor and new group assignment for 2012 and my family must get new PPO insurance from Blue Cross. This was after they raised our Premiums on October, 2011 by 16%. All the Insurance Companies are re-positioning them selves for the 2014 health Care Law to go into effect to maximise profits. Take Back Wall Street...Take Back the Insurance Companies.
Posted by Senior Citizen on 2011-11-28:
Secure Horizons/United Healthcare has changed their prescription drug tiers for 2012. One of the generic drugs that I have been using for a couple of years and pay $5.00 a month for a 30 day supply will increase to $44.00 a month in 2012. Thats for a GENERIC. What now costs me a total of $60.00 per year will cost me $528.00 a year in 2012 for ONE drug. I plan to find another Advantage Plan and WILL NOT be renewing with Secure Horizons/United Health.
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DO NOT switch your insurance to Secure Horizons
Posted by SusieB1969 on 09/24/2008
I am making a very long and aggravating story very short. My mother in law is currently in a hospital and needs a long term care facility. The problem is, we can't put her into one (even though we are private paying) because NO ONE accepts Secure Horizons by United Healthcare Medicare insurance (the medical staff gets paid through the insurance). We called SecureHorizons to get her disenrolled, because she entitled to do that if entering long term care. Well, it's been a month, and after daily phone calls to them, she's still on their policy. She is still in the hospital and I will be getting a big fat bill from the hospital soon because she is still there. You can't even keep a record of who you spoke to at Secure Horizons because they don't want to give out their names. Some way to do business huh? I have honestly never heard of such a thing. I have heard from other people that need medical services (surgery, etc.) that they are in the same boat. Their doctors won't take the insurance so they have to wait until open enrollment to get off this plan to get the necessary medical treatment that they need.

For anyone who is in the same boat as we are, I understand your frustration. They take advantage of the elderly.
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Posted by Disaster Worker on 2008-09-24:
I'm in EMS and wanted to add my comments. If there is a large hospital bill that your mother-in-law cannot pay, unless you have personally guaranteed payment, the hospital cannot come after you for payment. When your mother-in-law passes, if there is still money owned on the bill, any money in the estate will have to go for payment, but you personally do not owe the bill. I hope this helps, and I hope she gets well!

a Nationally Registered EMT
Posted by SusieB1969 on 2008-09-24:
Thank you taking the time to tell me that. These are the things that I wouldn't know, unless I am in this field or have been through this before. I appreciate your help! We haven't personally guaranteed any payment to them (and she can't afford the bill(s)so that's good to know. She is currently on inpatient hospice, so her time is limited. Tomorrow she hits the 2 week mark (which they didn't think she would get to) so now they want her moved from the hospital. It's bad enough to have to deal with this stuff under regular circumstances, nevermind now. I really do appreciate your comment!
Posted by Anonymous on 2008-09-24:
This sounds like a really bad situation to be in. The hospital should have social workers on site to help you with this type of issue. They should be able to assist you in getting the phone numbers directly to medicare who will then be able to help you in getting your mother in law dis-enrolled. I know for one of our family members we could not get them dis-enrolled in one plan until we had selected another. Its a viscious cycle.
Posted by sedonahl on 2008-10-14:
Trying to decide upon a Medi-gap policy or Secure Horizons PPO...Am in Florida...see lots of nursing homes listed...Is it that the doctors that come into the nursing home don't accept the plan...Please advise...
Posted by BUFFALO DON on 2009-01-15:
I sell Medicare plans and the simple answer is Medicare does not cover LTC and so no Medicare program will cover it except LTC insurance. If this is the first time on a Medicare advantage plan, which Secure horizons is, during the first 12 months you may dis enroll, just call Medicare and they will do it. You may need to pick up a stand alone drug plan.
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Not So Secure - Secure Horizons
Posted by PeaOwed on 02/25/2009
VIRGINIA -- Since my wife and I enrolled with this health insurance company in late December 2008, it took my calling their customer support 5 times and a total of 45 days to receive our medical ID cards and on top of that, the cards have the wrong Primary Care Physician Names and Phone Numbers. The plan we enrolled in "Medicare Complete" with a Rider that is supposed to cover Dental, Vision, and Hearing for and additional $39.00 per month each on top of what ever they collect from Medicare. Since January 1, 2009 when we have gone to doctors and dentists, these people have done everything to delay paying their share and as of this date (February 25), it has cost us over $800.00 out of pocket even though it should be half or less. We too are stuck for another 10 months.

So if you see them advertised on TV as being sponsored by AARP. Do not enroll, RUN away from these people as fast as you can. They are the worst..
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Posted by KCRovert on 2009-02-25:
PeaOwned, I don't see anything in your review that describes a security problem, as indicated in your review title??
Posted by MaryBronnimann on 2009-06-05:
I had the some problem with the "Not So Secure Horizons" when I signed up in the Fall of 2008. It took them eight weeks to send me the insurance card. I did hear they had changed computer systems, and that the new ones don't communicate with the old computers, so a lot of mistakes and miscommunications developed. I should have seen the writing on the wall then, because things got even worse this Spring, 2009, when they started denying payment for routine blood work lab claims.
Posted by LoriC on 2010-11-20:
We had the same experience with obtaining ID cards when we changed physicians. It took them 6 tries (and several months) before they got it right!

I also notice that you obtained the deluxe rider. A word of caution: be very careful if you decide to cancel the rider, or they will bill you, even after you stop paying monthly premiums and even if you haven't used the plan. This happened to my elderly mother, and now they claim she owes them $528, even though she never received services.
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AARP SECURE HORIZON response from previous reviewer
Posted by RIODJENIRO on 10/30/2009
This is to the previous person who complained about calling Secure Horizons referral names to doctors and none took the insurance. Secure Horizons DOES mail out a booklet every year with all the doctors names, addresses, and phone number that indeed do take the Secure Horizons Insurance, and it's up to your primary care doctor to send you out to a Specialist doctor to take care of your needs. Next time you call Secure Horizons, try asking them to send out a current List of doctors for your use. Hope this helps you out, I know it's very, very irritating and frustrating getting the run around from the Insurance Company, I too am having Billing problems with Secure Horizons that seem like NEVER ENDING!!!
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Secure Horizons Dental Rider Scam
Posted by LoriC on 11/20/2010
A few weeks ago, we received a letter from Secure Horizons claiming that my elderly mother owes $528.00 in premiums. The letter did not state what the premiums were for. As I have medical POA, I called the company immediately upon receipt of the letter in an attempt to resolve the matter. I was told by the customer service representative that even though we had cancelled my mother's Dental Gold Plan almost 2 years ago, we are still responsible to pay the $32 monthly premium even though she had not received any dental services. In other words, they are refusing to release my mother from the plan even though she no longer wishes to continue her dental insurance! Secure Horizons claims they had never received any cancellation request from us, which is untrue. When I asked why they took almost 2 years to bill us for the $528 instead of issuing a cancellation notice, the customer service representative couldn't answer me, but instead responded by screaming. I also explained to the representative that since we didn't utilize their services, we owe them nothing. I further requested that they stop harassing my mother with phone calls and letters as their claims are unfounded.

Any other reputable insurance company would have sent a notice of cancellation long before this point, instead of trying to bill my mother retroactively for services never rendered.

Hopefully, "Secure" Horizons will heed my request to stop their harassment and shakedown tactics as they have no basis for their claim. According to some other info I found on the net, Secure Horizons has contacted over 40,000 members using similar strong-arm tactics.

Since this matter is still ongoing, I will update periodically with details.

In the meantime, seniors beware of this company. If this happens to you, fight them tooth and nail.
Update 7/21/11: Customer service was informed over 3 yrs ago. both verbally and in writing of our intent to cancel the rider. A cust. svc. rep. told me the only way you can stop these letter is to make the payments. My written requests have been totally ignored. This is clearly harassment!
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Posted by dmnksm on 2010-12-08:
Well first of all you have to call and cancel any dental riders by contacting customer service. Just because the services werent used doesnt mean it cancels automatically. Usually if you pay a premium any payments you make will go to the back balances that are due.
Posted by Uncle Ronnie on 2011-07-22:
The same thing happened to me about 2 yrs ago, and it's still not straightened out yet. It doesn't matter how many times you call customer service. All they tell you is the letters won't stop until you make the payments.
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Promises Greater Than Delivery
Posted by Mr unhappy on 07/14/2009
HOT SPRINGS, ALASKA -- Signed up for AARP medicare complete from secure horizons Florida with United Health care as provider. I signed up 6-1-09 as of July 14th after 4 calls I do not have my insurance card. I am told each time its in the mail and can do no more to help. My list of dentists included one who died 6 months ago and others who canceled the plan over a year ago.

I should have tried Humana bur we all make mistakes. They give a good talk but small delivery.
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Absolutely Horrible!
Posted by Sunnyday on 05/11/2009
Amazingly horrible, Secure Horizons canceled my 87 year old father's coverage claiming he "moved out of the service area" when in fact he changed LOCAL care givers. For 8 weeks they said they'd "make a determination" but never did. Every time I called I had to start over. I was never able to speak to a supervisor. Week 8 they said they could not discuss his case unless I faxes a Power of Attorney. NOW they want this? It is really unbelievable what they put us through. How can they do this legally? And, yes, finally we are going to the Calif Insurance Commission and every other advocate group.

My advice: AVOID THEM at all costs!
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Posted by TerriVV on 12/03/2010
I sit here in a hospital room awaiting the discharge of my 74 y/o father. He had abdominal surgery and was diagnosed with cancer. Mind you he is a spry 74 y/o who is very active and has a strong constitution. I am not certain if we are taking him home or to a rehab facility. He is still in pain and needs assistance but some area director at Secure Horizon who has not met my father seems to think he can go home. I have also run into issues with several doctors who won’t accept Secure Horizon because they are difficult. The road blocks this company has to utilizing the coverage are completely UNACCEPTABLE. The ratio of rehab facilities that accept Secure Horizon is something like 20 to 1. It was difficult to find a place that would accept his insurance and even more difficult to find a decent facility that accepted Secure Horizon. Thankfully this is December and I can change his insurance to Medicare effective the first of January so that we can go to world class physicians for chemo and radiation treatment. I have learned thru this process that EVERYONE accepts Medicare but only a small percentage of the health care community take Secure Horizon

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Posted by Alain on 2010-12-04:
Thank you for this review and I wish your Father a speedy recovery, TerriVV.
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Don't Go With AARP Secure Horizons Medical Insurance
Posted by Db1123 on 02/17/2009
Since 11/20/2008 I have been trying to get my mother enrolled in Secure Horizons AARP medical advantage plan, and all I get is transferred to another number every time I call, with no results. I have never dealt with such a messed up company. They have several computer systems that don't "talk" to one another, and the agents are miserable to deal with. In fact on one call the supervisor was laughing at my problem.

Also, my mother has gone without insurance for a month and a half. Don't make the same mistake!!!
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Posted by Anonymous on 2009-02-17:
Be glad you didn't sign her up. If getting on the plan is tough and bureaucratic, I can imagine what a claim would be. Good info, thanks!
Posted by Starlord on 2009-02-18:
You didn't state where you are,but I have been fighting with Secure Horizons since we moved to Washigton the first week in last August. I never had a moment's problem with the company in Arizona, but this outfit in Washington can't seem to perform even the simplest functions. They sent me to four different doctors, who it turned out were not taking new patients, each time, sending me an ID card with that doctor's name on it. Not a big matter, you say? Without the proper ID card, they wil refuse to pay the bill, so instead of a co-pay, the patient has to pay the entire bill. Well, after all this, in late January, I received three cards with my doctor's name on them, but they are all different in many respects. I feel your pain.
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Posted by Cuzzza112 on 02/11/2013
Finding a physician is nearly impossible. What's in the book is outdated and online search is totally impossible. Called the number on the insurance card for information and that number is no longer in service! What a joke these "gov't protected" insurance companies are.
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