MANAGED CARE PLAN EXPANDS TO INCLUDE MEDICARE BENEFICIARIES IN 7 TENNESSEE COUNTIES
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has approved a request by HealthSpring of Tennessee Inc. to expand managed care coverage to Medicare beneficiaries in seven middle Tennessee counties.
HealthSpring of Tennessee, based in Nashville Tenn., can begin serving beneficiaries in the counties on Jan. 1, 2004. Medicare beneficiaries can sign up for the plan during the current Medicare+Choice open enrollment. About 57,000 beneficiaries live in the seven Tennessee counties of Bedford, Coffee, Dickson, Hickman, Maury, Montgomery and Warren, including the cities of Clarksville and Columbia.
The company began serving beneficiaries in 1997 in 13 Nashville area counties - Cannon, Cheatham, Davidson, De Kalb, Macon, Marshall, Robertson, Rutherford, Smith, Sumner, Trousdale, Williamson and Wilson.
"We are pleased HealthSpring of Tennessee decided to expand this health plan to include more Medicare beneficiaries in middle Tennessee," HHS Secretary Tommy G. Thompson said. "Under the new 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.”
HealthSpring of Tennessee is a subsidiary of NewQuest Health Solutions Inc., based in Nashville. The company’s product, Seniors First, gives beneficiaries in the seven counties another Medicare+Choice organization to select. Sterling Life Insurance Co. currently operates in all seven counties.
"We want to make sure all Medicare beneficiaries, whether in a Medicare+Choice plan or fee-for-service, are receiving the highest quality health care," CMS Acting Administrator Dennis G. Smith said. "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+Choice 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.