HEALTH NET: Drops Medicare Plans In Rural Northern California
Health Net, the state's third largest HMO, wants to get out of its Medicare contracts in nine rural Northern Californian counties, to "keep its costs down," the San Francisco Business Journal reports. Ron Yukelson, spokesperson for the Woodland Hills-based company, said, "There are significant challenges to delivering health care to rural counties," adding that the planned 2% increase in federal Medicare reimbursements for this and next year "won't cover our rising costs." Health Net is asking the Health Care Financing Administration for permission to terminate its Seniority Plus HMO plan in 10 counties -- San Luis Obispo, Butte, Colusa, Glenn, Napa, Plumas, Sierra, Solano, Sutter and Yuba -- effective Jan. 1. If the request is approved, Business Journal reports that "about 10,000 elderly patients will be left to find another HMO" or will have to "revert to simple Medicare coverage," which does not offer as many benefits. Health Net's wish to leave the Medicare market makes California the third state to lose some of its Medicare providers; PacifiCare Health Systems is slated to pull out of Utah by year-end and Blue Cross/Blue Shield plans to do the same in rural Ohio (Bole, 7/7 issue).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.