MANAGED CARE PLAN EXPANDS TO INCLUDE MEDICARE BENEFICIARIES IN WARREN COUNTY, OHIO
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has approved a request by UnitedHealthcare of Ohio Inc. to expand its managed care plan to Medicare beneficiaries in Warren County in southwestern Ohio.
UnitedHealthcare of Ohio, based in Columbus, Ohio, is now serving Medicare beneficiaries in Warren County, in the Cincinnati area. About 18,000 beneficiaries live in the managed care organization's newly approved service area. Beneficiaries can sign up for the plan during the current open enrollment.
The company, which operates as United Healthcare, began serving beneficiaries in 1996. UnitedHealthcare currently operates a Medicare+Choice plan in eight other Ohio counties, including the cities of Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus and Dayton.
"We are pleased UnitedHealthcare of Ohio decided to expand this health plan to include more Medicare beneficiaries in 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."
UnitedHealthcare of Ohio is a subsidiary of UnitedHealth Group, based in Minnetonka, Minn. The company’s product , Medicare Complete, will give another health care choice to Medicare beneficiaries in Warren County, who can also choose Anthem Senior Advantage.
"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.