Annual Election Period for Medicare Ends Dec. 31
Understanding Medicare Advantage plan options will help you make informed choices
Greenfield, Wis., December 30, 2009 – Individuals who are eligible for Medicare have until December 31 to change Medicare Advantage or Prescription Drug plans, enroll in a Medicare Advantage or Prescription Drug plan for the first time, or return to Original Medicare.
The deadline is fast approaching for people currently eligible for Medicare and people new to Medicare to carefully assess their healthcare needs and review all of the plan choices in their area. While the specific details of our nation’s healthcare are not finalized, Medicare Advantage plans for 2010 will not change.
Medicare is a publicly funded health insurance program for older Americans and other individuals who have certain qualifying conditions. Navigating through Medicare can be a challenge -- for even the most knowledgeable. As the Annual Election Period comes to a close on December 31, Universal American offers the following ABCD’s of Medicare to help individuals become informed before choosing a Medicare Advantage plan.
• Medicare Part A is hospital coverage and covers inpatient hospital care, inpatient stays in most skilled nursing facilities, Hospice and home health services.
• Medicare Part B is medical coverage for doctor and clinical lab services, outpatient and preventive care, screenings, surgical fees and supplies, physical and occupational therapy.
• Medicare Part C (also called Medicare Advantage) combines Part A and B. It is an alternative to getting Medicare Part A and Part B coverage separately. Medicare Advantage plans combine hospital insurance (Part A) and medical insurance (Part B) into one plan, and can also be combined with Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage.
• Medicare Part D is prescription drug coverage and can be a stand-alone plan (not joined with other insurance) or, can be combined with a Medicare Advantage plan.
Medicare Advantage plans (Part C) give an individual many of the same benefits as Medicare Part A and B but usually cover services not provided by Original Medicare. These plans may offer lower out-of-pocket costs, cover more services such as preventive health care and wellness programs, and may also include prescription drug coverage
Medicare Advantage plans are approved by Medicare and administered by private health insurance companies. The types of Medicare Advantage plans available include HMOs (Health Maintenance Organizations), PPOs (Preferred Provider Organizations) and PFFS (Private Fee-for-Service).
Americans eligible for Medicare Advantage should consider these questions when renewing or selecting a plan:
• Will I continue to have access to my current doctor or doctors as well as my preferred hospital?
• Does this plan give my doctors the freedom to make important decisions about my care?
• Does this plan charge an additional monthly plan premium beyond the standard Medicare Part B premium?
• Does this plan include Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage?
• Does this plan include benefits that are not part of Original Medicare, such as dental and vision coverage and wellness programs?
• Does this plan include preventive care at no additional cost, including bone density scans, flu and pneumonia vaccines, Hepatitis B vaccines, mammograms and prostate screenings?
Medicare Advantage plans offered through the Universal American family of companies provide people with Medicare a choice of plans that are focused on prevention and can include Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage. Universal American’s plans are based on its Healthy CollaborationSM model of care, which is focused on strong partnerships with doctors and pharmacists to improve health outcomes while reducing the overall cost of care.
“At a time when many people with Medicare are concerned about their coverage for 2010, we are proud to offer a range of comprehensive and affordable health care options that are based on our Healthy Collaboration model of care,” said Hal Sadowy, vice president and general manager of Today's Health HMO. “With the December 31 deadline, we encourage eligible individuals to weigh their options before choosing a plan.”
Hal Sadowy is vice president and general manager of Today’s Health ® HMO in the Greater Milwaukee Area. Today’s Health is a Medicare Advantage plan offered by the Universal American family of companies, with offices in Greenfield and Glendale. For more information, please visit www.UniversalAmerican.com or contact 1-866-561-4405 between 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. EST every day.
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