This will be a hectic Open Enrollment Period (OEP) because there will be several Tucson Medicare Advantage cancellations.
Health Net and SCAN are cancelling their Medicare Advantage special needs plans that focus on people with diabetes and heart disease. These plans have benefits designed to cut costs for people with chronic diseases and they have been very popular because they offered lower co-pays than “regular” Advantage plans.
People in cancelled plans can enroll in another Medicare Advantage plan during the OEP and their new coverage will begin on January 1, 2015.
Health Net is also cancelling its Ruby 1 plan, which has a $49 premium. It’s Ruby 4 $0 premium plan will continue.
University of Arizona Medical Center (UAMC)
Humana will drop UAMC from its network for its $0 premium Medicare Advantage plan.
People can enroll in Humana’s $60 plan that will include UAMC and University Physicians. Humana has not told brokers if there are any other changes to its network in Tucson. Correction: UAMC will not be contracted with the Humana HMO plans in Tucson.
AARP Medicare Complete and a Part D deductible
Most Medicare Advantage plans do not have a deductible in their drug coverage – but UnitedHealthcare is changing its AARP Medicare Complete plans. The AARP Medicare Complete plans will have a deductible in their drug coverage – but only for brand drugs. So a person who takes only generics would not be affected by the deductible, unless she is prescribed a brand drug at some time during the year.
I almost forgot: The AARP Medicare Complete HMO-POS Plus plan is going from a $0 premium to $39 in 2015. People enrolled in that plan should be getting a letter today to remind them that this information appeared in their Annual Notice of Change which arrived last week. Most people don’t read their Annual Notice of Change, so a follow-up letter is a good idea. Hopefully people will read it so they won’t be faced with a surprise bill in January. In January it will be too late to change to another Medicare Advantage plan.
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona Medicare Advantage in Tucson
BCBSAZ will offer a Medicare Advantage plan in Tucson for 2015. It’s interesting that while companies are cancelling Advantage plans, BCBSAZ is getting into the Tucson Medicare Advantage market.
Where to get help?
The Arizona Daily Star had an article yesterday on the upcoming Open Enrollment Period for Medicare Advantage and Part D, but they said nothing about the changes reported here.
In the story they quoted a person from a Medicare advisory group who said people should go to Medicare.gov and enroll in a new plan online. Whaaaaat? How will that person know if his doctors are in the plan network? And how will that person determine how his drugs will be covered by the plan? Most people need help sorting through their Medicare Advantage options.
The quickest way to find a plan that suits your needs is to talk to a broker who represents multiple plans – not just one plan. A broker can tell you which plans your doctors are contracted with. A broker will check to see how your drugs are covered by the plans that include your doctors. You will make the final decision on which plan to pick. If you feel pressured by the broker, tell him to get lost. Talk to your friends and ask them who helps them with their Medicare choices.
The companies offering Medicare Advantage plan in Tucson in 2015 are:
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona
Phoenix Health Plan
UnitedHealthcare (AARP Medicare Complete)
There are a few other companies that offer Medicare Advantage plans in Tucson, but those are for people who are dually eligible for AHCCCS and Medicare.