The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has approved a request by GlobalHealth Inc. to offer a managed care plan to Medicare beneficiaries in Oklahoma County, Okla., including Oklahoma City.
GlobalHealth, based in Oklahoma City, can begin serving beneficiaries on Jan. 1, 2004, in Oklahoma County. Medicare beneficiaries can sign up now for the plan during the current Medicare+Choice open enrollment. About 96,000 beneficiaries live in Oklahoma County.
"We are pleased GlobalHealth has decided to offer this new option to Medicare beneficiaries in Oklahoma 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."
GlobalHealth will give another health care option to beneficiaries living in Oklahoma County, who already can choose between two other Medicare+Choice plans – Pacificare and Sterling Life Insurance Co.
"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.