Army Family Battles Humana Military with Lifesaving Coverage on the Line
An active-duty Army family is facing overwhelming medical debt that they say is due to numerous errors made by Tricare. Humana Military, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Humana Inc., partners with the Department of Defense to administer the TRICARE health program for military members, retirees, and their families.
Chelle McIntyre-Brewer and her husband, Army Maj. Steven Brewer, are fighting with the insurance company while their 13-year-old daughter Lorelei is fighting for her life.
Lorelei was born with hypoplastic left heart syndrome, a birth defect that causes half of her heart to not work correctly. She also suffers from Harlequin Syndrome, and a life-threatening allergy to petroleum jelly and plastic products.
The problems with the insurance coverage started when Humana Military took over the contract in what had previously been Tricare’s North region.
The first speedbump was when Humana denied authorization for a series of echocardiograms Lorelei’s doctors ordered following the insertion of a pacemaker, saying they weren’t medically necessary. Then, Humana said that according to their system, Lorelei had other insurance that was the primary carrier, and it had been in effect since 1988, some 17 years before she was born. Finally, Humana has sent a list of claims it said had been resolved, while simultaneously sending McIntyre-Brewer letters listing the same claims as outstanding.
This mix-up has put the family in debt, having taken out a loan to cover $65,000 in medical debt.
McIntyre-Brewer has reached out to Pennsylvania Sen. Bob Casey, as well as the media for help. She reported that her husband received an email from Neil Mullaney, who heads Humana’s government section, which includes Tricare, about 90 minutes after the statement was sent to the media.
When she was just 5-years-old, Lorelei told her mother she wanted to learn how to sew, and she started to make compression heart pillows for pediatric cardiology patients. In 2016, Lorelei was named Army Child of the Year by Operation Homefront for her work on Heart Hugs, the charity she helped found.
Lorelei’s older brother, Cavan, received the honor in 2015 for his non-profit Socks for Vets.