MANAGED CARE PLAN EXPANDS TO INCLUDE MEDICARE BENEFICIARIES IN TRUMBULL COUNTY, OHIO
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has approved a request by UnitedHealthcare of Ohio Inc. to expand managed care coverage to Medicare beneficiaries in Trumbull County in eastern Ohio.
UnitedHealthcare of Ohio, based in Westerville, Ohio, is now serving beneficiaries in the county, including the city of Warren. Medicare beneficiaries can sign up for the plan during the current Medicare+Choice open enrollment. About 37,000 beneficiaries live in the county.
"We are pleased UnitedHealthcare of Ohio decided to expand this health plan to include Medicare beneficiaries in Trumbull County," 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."
The plan, which operates as Medicare Complete, began serving Medicare beneficiaries in Ohio in 1996. It gives beneficiaries in Trumbull County another health care option to select. Community Insurance Co. Inc., which does business as Anthem Senior Advantage, currently operates in the county.
"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.
Congress created Medicare+Choice in the Balanced Budget Act of 1997 to expand the types of health care options available to Medicare beneficiaries, who in addition can now receive new preventive benefits and patient protections. There also is 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.