MANAGED CARE PLAN OFFERED TO MEDICARE BENEFICIARIES IN SOUTHERN LOS ANGELES, NORTHERN ORANGE COUNTIES, CALIF
MANAGED CARE PLAN OFFERED TO MEDICARE BENEFICIARIES IN SOUTHERN LOS ANGELES, NORTHERN ORANGE COUNTIES, CALIF.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has approved a request by CareMore Insurance Services Inc. to offer a managed care plan to Medicare beneficiaries in southern Los Angeles and northern Orange counties in California.
CareMore Insurance Services, based in Cerritos, Calif., can begin on Feb. 1, 2003, to serve beneficiaries in some cities in the two counties, including Long Beach and sections of the city of Los Angeles in Los Angeles County, and Anaheim in Orange County. Medicare beneficiaries can now enroll in the plan. About 850,000 beneficiaries live in the managed care organization's newly approved service area.
"We are pleased that CareMore Insurance Services has decided to offer this new option to Medicare beneficiaries in the Los Angeles area," 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 principles for strengthening and modernizing Medicare will move us closer to that goal."
"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."
CareMore Insurance Services, which does business as California Medical Advantage, will give another health care option to beneficiaries living in the two counties. Beneficiaries in Los Angeles County already can choose among 10 Medicare+Choice plans and beneficiaries in Orange County have nine Medicare+Choice options. The plan will be open to all beneficiaries in specific ZIP codes in southern Los Angeles and northern Orange counties.
In his budget proposal for fiscal year 2003, President Bush said the current Medicare+Choice system for paying private plans is not giving beneficiaries the health care options they deserve. Annual increases in Medicare+Choice funding have failed to reflect rising health care costs, leading to unreliable options and reduced benefits for seniors. Under the President's proposal, all Medicare+Choice plans will receive payment increases in 2003.
Medicare+Choice HMOs and fee-for-service plans are available where private companies choose to offer them. Currently, about 5.6 million Medicare beneficiaries -- out of a total of nearly 40 million aged and disabled Americans -- have enrolled in Medicare HMOs. Original fee-for-service Medicare, currently chosen by more than 34 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.