On Your Side: Holding for Humana

By: Ryan Duffy
By: Ryan Duffy

In the last few months, millions have signed up for Medicare prescription drug programs.

12 On Your Side's Ryan Duffy looks at whether the provider companies are handling the rush.

New prescription drug plans have lured millions of people into signing on with Medicare since enrollment opened January 1.

Companies that have partnered with the government to offer these plans have had to hire new employees to handle it.

But even then they can't always handle all the calls.

Mary Stutzman says it was easy to sign up for prescription drug coverage with Humana, but getting customer service has been more time consuming.

So 12 On Your Side made some calls to Humana's prescription plan customer service line to see how long it takes.

We got through to a live representative in just about a minute.

Humana tells us it answers 80 percent of all call in 30 seconds or less, but they admit there are times when the lines are jammed.

"We do have standards for those plans, we receive complaints they can't reach them, they can contact us at the 800 number and we will try to help out with whatever problem customer is having," says Roger Perez, acting deputy regional administrator for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid.

The Centers set standards and track the customer service that patients like Mary are receiving. They've set up a number for any complaints, 1-800-MEDICARE.

We had Mary try the Humana line again at a less busy time of day. This time she got right through.

Humana isn't the only company partnering with Medicare to offer prescription drug coverage, and all of them are experiencing a big rush of customers.

So if you are experiencing some problems getting through, try calling at off-peak times.

On Monday through Saturday, try later in the evening, between 6 and 8.

Or try anytime on a Sunday, which tends to be a lot slower.

If there are any problems with your plan, call 1-800-MEDICARE.

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