MANAGED CARE PLAN EXPANDS TO INCLUDE MEDICARE BENEFICIARIES IN SUBURBAN WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) today approved a request by Oxford Health Plan of New York to expand managed care coverage to Medicare beneficiaries in suburban Westchester County , N.Y.
Oxford Health Plan of New York, based in Trumbull , Conn. , will begin serving beneficiaries on April 1 in Westchester County , north of New York City , including the cities of White Plains ,Yonkers , Mount Vernon and New Rochelle . Medicare beneficiaries can sign up for the plan during the current open enrollment for Medicare Advantage, formerly known as Medicare+Choice. About 145,000 beneficiaries live in the county.
"We are pleased Oxford Health Plan of New York decided to expand this health plan to include more Medicare beneficiaries in the New York metro area,” HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt 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.”
The company, which began serving beneficiaries in 1991 in New York , currently serves beneficiaries throughout New York City and in Orange and Rockland counties outside New York City . Oxford Health Plan of New York is a subsidiary of Oxford Health Plans Inc., which is part of UnitedHealth Group.
The plan, which does business as Oxford Medicare Advantage, gives another health care choice to beneficiaries in Westchester County . The other Medicare Advantage plans currently operating in Westchester are Aetna Health, Aetna PPO, Empire Blue Cross, Group Health Inc. PPO, HIP and Wellcare.
“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 45 new contracts with Medicare health plans and 66 service area expansions. There are currently 139 applications pending for new contracts and 32 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.