MANAGED CARE PLAN EXPANDS TO INCLUDE MEDICARE BENEFICIARIES IN STARK COUNTY, OHIO
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has approved a request by Community Insurance Co. Inc. to expand its managed care plan to Medicare beneficiaries in Stark County in northeastern Ohio.
Community Insurance, based in Mason, Ohio, can now sign up beneficiaries in the county, including the cities of Canton and Massillon, and begin serving them on Jan. 1, 2004. About 70,000 beneficiaries live in the managed care organization's newly approved service area. Beneficiaries can sign up for the plan during the current Medicare+Choice open enrollment.
"We are pleased Community Insurance has decided to expand this health plan to more Medicare beneficiaries in northeastern Ohio," HHS Secretary Tommy G. Thompson said. "The reality is, Medicare should provide all seniors - no matter where they live - with better health insurance options, including prescription drug coverage and preventive care. The President's goals for strengthening and modernizing Medicare will move us closer to that goal."
Community Insurance, a subsidiary of Anthem Insurance Co., began serving beneficiaries in Ohio in 1994. It now operates throughout 22 Ohio counties, including the cities of Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus and Dayton, and part of Darke County. The plan, which will operate as Anthem Senior Advantage, will give another health care choice to beneficiaries in Stark County. Beneficiaries in the county already can choose between two Medicare+Choice plans - Primetime Medical Insurance Co. and Hometown Health Plan.
"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 Administrator Tom Scully 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.