MANAGED CARE PLAN OFFERED TO MEDICARE BENEFICIARIES IN ST. PETERSBURG AND TAMPA, FLA.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) today approved a request by Citrus Health Care Inc. to offer managed care coverage to Medicare beneficiaries in St. Petersburg, Tampa and other parts of the Tampa Bay, Fla., area.
Citrus Health Care, based in Tampa, will begin serving beneficiaries on July 1 in Hillsborough, Pinellas and Pasco counties, including the cities of Brandon, Clearwater, St. Petersburg and Tampa. Beneficiaries can sign up for the plan during the current open enrollment for Medicare Advantage, formerly known as Medicare+Choice. About 440,000 Medicare beneficiaries live in the three counties.
"We are pleased Citrus Health Care has decided to serve beneficiaries in the Tampa Bay area,” Secretary Tommy G. Thompson 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 plan will give beneficiaries in the three counties another health care option to select. Plans currently operating in all three counties are Humana, UnitedHealthcare and WellCare Choice. In addition, WellCare Advantage operates in Hillsborough County and Quality Health Plan is in Pasco County.
“We want to make sure all Medicare beneficiaries, 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."
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.