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Manchester woman can't get deceased husband's name off health plan
Since the death of her husband, Martin in May, Debra Jacobsen of Manchester has been trying to get his name dropped from the health insurance policy they purchased on the health insurance marketplace. It's been anything but easy. (COURTESY)
Martin Jacobsen, 61, died on May 15. In late February, he had slipped and fallen while shoveling, sending him to the hospital with a fractured rib and punctured lung. There, X-rays revealed undiagnosed lung cancer that had spread throughout his body.
After Martin's death, Jacobsen began the painful process of settling his affairs. His illness had progressed so rapidly that he hadn't had time to take care of all that needed doing, including telling his wife the passwords needed to get access to bills he always paid online. She is still trying to guess some of them.
"They said, 'Oh don't worry, it's a simple change of life event. Call the marketplace, tell them what happened, and they'll give you a rate,'" she said.
Her case was referred, first to the resolution department at the exchange, then to the "technical blocking department," Jacobsen said.
Danielle Kronk Barrick, director of communications for the state Insurance Department, said she couldn't speak about Jacobsen's case because of privacy concerns. However, she said, department staff are available to assist residents who have issues with their insurance coverage, which could involve contacting the insurer or CMS.
Jacobsen stopped paying the $288 monthly premiums in June, expecting the issue to be resolved and her premium to be lowered.
"It doesn't make any sense," she said. "I'm paying for somebody who no longer exists."
Christopher Dugan, public relations director for Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in New Hampshire, said Jacobsen need not worry.
Lisa Kaplan Howe, policy director at the advocacy group New Hampshire Voices for Health, said she hasn't heard of such a problem.
Still, she said, "It should be an easy fix you can do online or over the phone. It should not be something that requires multiple phone calls."
Consumers with concerns about their insurance plans can contact the state Insurance Department at 1-800-852-3416 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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