Fort Drum Retiree Wonders, Worries, In Medical Dispute

Fort Drum Retiree Wonders, Worries, In Medical Dispute

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A Fort Drum retiree is frustrated and unsure where to turn next, now that health insurer Humana Military has cut ties with many of the specialist groups which are part of Samaritan Medical Practice.

Humana Military ended relations 22 doctors in 10 of Samaritan Medical Practice's 45 specialist groups in a dispute over how much Samaritan Medical Practice would be paid.

Humana said patients with new referrals would be sent to other specialists.

Jennifer Law, retired more than 10 years from the military, wonders what that means.

"There are things that I haven't addressed yet in my medical history that I'm going to need referrals out for. It's just really frustrating," Law told 7 News Monday.

Over the years, Jennifer says she's had a variety of health issues which she's had to go to Samaritan Medical Practice for including a number of surgeries and gastrointestinal treatments.

Now that her primary insurance, Humana Military, has cut ties with Samaritan it apparently keeps patients like Jennifer from going back for referrals.

"We're kind of left out in the wind with... what are we going to do? Go to Syracuse or go farther? Sometimes I can't make those appointments," she said.

"It's an extra burden, extra travel outside of the area, confusion on where to go for what and who to see," said Krista Kittle, spokesperson for Samaritan. "We've built the healthcare model that we've built in order to make those specialty services available here and now that's in question."

Going forward, Jennifer is considering switching to Martin's Point, another insurance carrier for Fort Drum soldiers, retirees and their families.

But she says she hopes for Samaritan and Humana to come to an agreement.

"It's just one of those things where you kind of have to wait and see. For people like me that have a lot of medical issues, sometimes I can't wait," she said.

Although both Samaritan and Humana have told us they're open for negotiations, Kittle said Samaritan has yet to hear from Humana.

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