The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) today approved a request by Community Insurance Co. Inc. to expand managed care coverage to Medicare beneficiaries in Clark County in western Ohio.
Community Insurance, based in Mason, Ohio, will begin serving beneficiaries on Aug. 1 in Clark County, which includes the city of Springfield and is near Dayton, Ohio. Medicare beneficiaries can sign up for the plan during the current open enrollment for Medicare Advantage, formerly known as Medicare+Choice. About 25,000 beneficiaries live in Clark County.
"We are pleased Community Insurance Co. decided to expand this health plan to include more Medicare beneficiaries in 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.”
Community Insurance is a subsidiary of Anthem Inc., based in Indianapolis, Ind. The plan, which began serving beneficiaries in Ohio in 1994, now operates throughout 23 Ohio counties and part of Darke County. The 23 counties include the cities and surrounding areas of Akron, Canton, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus and Dayton. The plan, which will operate as Anthem Senior Advantage, will give another health care choice to beneficiaries in Clark County. Beneficiaries in the county already can choose between two Medicare Advantage plans – United Healthcare Medicare Complete and United Healthcare Medicare Complete Choice.
“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 thatbeneficiaries 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.