MANAGED CARE PLAN EXPANDS TO INCLUDE MORE MEDICARE BENEFICIARIES IN COOK COUNTY, ILLINOIS
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has approved a request by Humana Health Plan Inc. to expand managed care coverage to Medicare beneficiaries in northeastern Cook County , north of Chicago .
Humana Health Plan, based in Louisville , Ky. , will begin serving beneficiaries on April 1 in 20 suburban cities outside Chicago in Cook County, including Arlington Heights, Evanston, Northbrook and Skokie. The plan will now cover all of Cook County including the city of Chicago .
Beneficiaries can sign up for the plan during the current open enrollment for Medicare Advantage, formerly known as Medicare+Choice. About 688,000 beneficiaries live in Cook County .
"We are pleased Humana Health Plan decided to expand to include all Medicare beneficiaries in Cook County ,” 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 began serving Medicare beneficiaries in 1985 and has other plans in Kendall and Kane counties in the Chicago metro area.
Humana Health Plan, a subsidiary of Humana Inc. based in Louisville , will give another health care choice to beneficiaries in Cook County ’s northeastern suburbs. The two Medicare Advantage plans currently operating in this part of the county are Healthspring Inc. and Sterling Life Insurance Co.
“We want to make sure all Medicarebeneficiaries, 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."
The other suburban cities in northeastern Cook County to be served by Humana Health Plan will be Buffalo Grove, Des Plains, Glencoe, Glenview, Golf, Kenilworth, Lincolnwood, Morton Grove , Mount Prospect, Niles , Northfield , Prospect Heights , Techny, Wheeling , Wilmette and Winnetka .
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.