Some consumers with canceled health-care plans being shifted to new ones without permission

Here’s what happened to Kingma and others: When they received letters last fall, they were informed that their plans had been canceled. But within the letter, it also said that if they did nothing, they would be switched over to a different plan and if they had set up their payment to autodraft from their account, it would continue to do so.

Kingma said he didn’t read the whole letter, just enough of it to know his old plan was being canceled.

Once he noticed the withdrawals from his account this month, Kingma said he tried calling Anthem’s customer service hotline but couldn’t reach anyone because of “high call volume.” Dozens of consumers have reported long phone waits trying to reach Anthem.

Kingma then repeatedly faxed and contacted the insurer through its website. An Anthem representative first told him that he may only receive reimbursement for about half of January, until the date he actually canceled the new policy. Since then, it appears the insurer canceled his policy at the end of 2013. But as of Friday afternoon, it hadn’t refunded Kingma’s money, he said.

“I and a number of other former Anthem policy holders are stuck in Anthem’s Kafkaesque nightmare as part of healthcare reform,” Kingma, 57, wrote to me in an email.