Aetna mistakenly tells 8,000 customers their doctors were dropped from coverage

Published: Thursday, Apr. 5, 2012 - 12:00 am | Page 1B
Last Modified: Thursday, Apr. 5, 2012 - 8:32 am

Thousands of Aetna customers across the state, including many in the Sacramento region, were mistakenly sent letters this week telling them that their health care provider is no longer covered in the network and that they need to find new doctors.

More than 8,000 Aetna customers were sent the form letters from the Hartford, Conn.-based health insurance company and have been receiving them in the mail over the past few days.

Since then, patients have been calling their doctors and the insurance company to find out if they are still covered.

"Patients were concerned about not being able to see their UC Davis physician. Patients with appointments in the near future were especially worried," said Karen Finney, UC Davis health system spokesperson. "We told them they should continue to see their physicians as planned."

The one-page letter, dated March 21, stated that the patients' health care professionals were not in the network effective March 1.

It also said patient benefits might be reduced or denied if they continued to receive services after the termination date.

"The letters were sent in error," said Anjie Coplin, director of communication for Aetna. "We have rectified the problem and are in the process of mailing out retraction letters."

She said the company is also sending notification letters to the providers who were mistakenly removed from the network.

She said Aetna members should call customer service numbers listed on their Aetna identification cards if they have questions or need more information.

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