MANAGED CARE PLAN EXPANDS TO INCLUDE MEDICARE BENEFICIARIES IN 2 EASTERN OHIO COUNTIES
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has approved a request by UnitedHealthcare of Ohio Inc. to expand managed care coverage to Medicare beneficiaries in two counties in eastern Ohio.
UnitedHealthcare of Ohio, based in Westerville, Ohio, will begin serving beneficiaries on May 1 in Stark and Summit counties, including the cities of Akron and Canton. Medicare beneficiaries can sign up for the plan during the current open enrollment for Medicare Advantage, formerly known as Medicare+Choice. About 156,400 beneficiaries live in the two counties.
"We are pleased UnitedHealthcare of Ohio decided to expand this health plan to include more Medicare beneficiaries in eastern Ohio,” HHS Secretary Tommy G. Thompson said. "Under the Medicare reform law signed by President Bush, Medicare will provide all seniors - no matter where they live - with better health insurance options, including prescription drug coverage and preventive care. The law is achieving the President's goals of strengthening and modernizing Medicare.”
UnitedHealthcare of Ohio is a subsidiary of UnitedHealth Group, based in Minnetonka, Minn. The plan, which operates as Medicare Complete, began serving Medicare beneficiaries in Ohio in 1996. It gives beneficiaries in Stark and Summit counties another health care option to select. Plans currently operating in either or both counties are Community Insurance Co., Evercare, Hometown Health Plan, Kaiser, Primetime Health Plan and SummaCare
“We want to make sure all Medicare beneficiaries, whether in a Medicare Advantage plan or fee-for-service, are receiving the highest quality health care," said CMS Administrator Mark McClellan, M.D., Ph.D. "We are doing more to guarantee that beneficiaries understand the Medicare coverage options available to them. We also are reminding beneficiaries of the need to work closely with the doctors and other health care providers that give them medical care."
Medicare Advantage HMOs and fee-for-service plans are available where private companies choose to offer them. Currently, about 4.6 million Medicare beneficiaries -- out of a total of about 40 million aged and disabled Americans – have enrolled in Medicare HMOs. Original fee-for-service Medicare, currently chosen by more than 35 million beneficiaries, is available to all beneficiaries.
Medicare has a far-reaching consumer information program that includes a national toll-free phone number -- 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) or TTY/TDD, at 877-486-2048 -- an Internet site -- www.medicare.gov -- and a coalition of more than 200 national and local organizations to provide seniors more information.