MANAGED CARE PLAN EXPANDS TO INCLUDE MEDICARE BENEFICIARIES IN MANATEE COUNTY, FLA.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has approved a request by Humana Medical Plan Inc. to expand managed care coverage to Medicare beneficiaries in Manatee County in the Tampa Bay area of western Florida .
Humana Medical Plan, based in Miramar , Fla. , will begin on Jan. 1 serving beneficiaries in Manatee County , including the city of Bradenton . Medicare beneficiaries can sign up for the plan during the current open enrollment for Medicare Advantage, formerly known as Medicare+Choice. About 58,000 beneficiaries live in the county.
"We are pleased Humana Medical Plan decided to serve more beneficiaries in the Tampa Bay area,” 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.”
Humana Medical Plan, a subsidiary of Humana Inc., based in Louisville , Ky. , began serving beneficiaries in Florida in 1987. The company now operates in 16 Florida counties on the west and east coasts, including the cities of Fort Lauderdale , Miami , Palm Beach and Tampa .
The plan, which will operate as Humana Gold Classic, will give another health care choice to beneficiaries in Manatee County . The other Medicare Advantage plans currently operating in the county are Evercare, United Healthcare of Florida Inc. and Universal Health Care Inc.
“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."
Since Dec. 8, 2003, when President Bush signed the Medicare Modernization Act into law, CMS has approved 41 new contracts with Medicare health plans and 56 service area expansions. There are currently 20 applications pending for new contracts and 21 service area expansions pending.
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.