SHELTON, Conn. (WTNH) -- Open enrollment for Medicare is now underway, but there is uncertainty among some doctors and patients because of termination letters that were sent out last week to hundreds of doctors on the list of providers for the UnitedHealthCare Medicare Alternative plan.
If you walk into the office of Ophthalmologist Dr. James Pinke you'll see displayed prominently at the receptionist desk an alert that says he, along with hundreds of other doctors, are no longer on the list of providers on the UnitedHealthcare Medicare Advantage plan as of February 1, 2014.
"We signed a contract with them in August and there were no issues whatsoever," Dr. Pinke said.
He filed an appeal, but a decision will come after the Medicare open enrollment ends.
"No one will talk to us at UnitedHealthCare," he said, so he's worried about patient care.
"I'm concerned particularly with patients with chronic disease that have very little ability to travel far away, particularly in the case of eye disease," he said.
Sally Smith drives 45 minutes to see Dr. Pinke. She has been a patient for more than ten years. "I really haven't decided what to do," she said.
"I called them and asked is he on the list and 'oh yes, he's on the list'. I said would you check for 2014 and she said 'yes, he's on the list for 2014'. Well, what about on Feb 1st. She said they didn't know."
In Trumbull, a practice of primary care physicians is trying to decide what to do. "We haven't been told why we've been terminated so we need a reason to appeal first and thats what we're trying to find out," internist Dr. Richard Seeker explains.
The focus right now is trying to identify which patients have UnitedHealthcare. "We're trying to call them and trying to direct them," Dr. Seeker said.
His patients are visibly upset. "The thing is they don't let you know anything. We never got a thing in the mail," Robert Hull Sr. said. "I'm not going to another doctor."
Even if it will cost her more, MaryAnn Cofek isn't changing doctors. "I'm going to stay with him no matter what," she said.
Dottie Cain says she is "looking into other insurances right now, but it's going to take me time. I still have until December 7th to decide what to do, but no, I don't want to lose him."
Seniors have the option of staying with the UnitedHealthCare Medicare Advantage plan or looking at other insurance carriers who also offer it, but many don't want to leave their longtime physicians. What's key here is finding out if your doctor has received a termination letter from UnitedHealthCare.
On Wednesday, UnitedHealthCare is running an ad in newspapers across the State. CEO Jack Larsen says "We are working to collaborate with a more focused network of physicians to help us provide higher quality and more affordable health care coverage to meet the needs of our members and help them get more their health plan benefits."
After Sandy Hook, some of the top trauma surgeons in the country, including some here in Connecticut, put together a think tank to try to come up with a plan to save lives of more of the wounded in a mass shooting like Sandy Hook.
A silver alert has been issued for missing Coventry teen girl.
A 9-1-1 malfunction is raising lots of questions across the state. What made the system go down? And how did that impact response time?
All over Connecticut, special tributes are being held this week to remember those who's lives were cut short at Sandy Hook.
A 22-year-old New Haven man is in critical condition after being shot in the head Thursday afternoon.
An old school in New London has become an eyesore, but now it's a money-making opportunity for the city.
UConn is expected to make it official in a news conference Thursday afternoon, but they have made a decision regarding who will be leading the football team next season.
The State Democratic Party has had to return a $10,000 contribution that appears to be illegal. It may be the first campaign contribution 'flare-up' of next year's race for governor.
Police say DNA evidence helped them crack a cold case investigation out of East Hampton.
An adult and a teen have been arrested in connection with a drunk driving crash that killed a Hebron teenager in August.