Many Medicare+Choice Plans to Raise Premiums in 2002
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services had set a Sept. 17 deadline for HMOs that participate in Medicare+Choice to announce whether they will cover beneficiaries in certain markets next year and submit for approval rate modifications, benefit structures and marketing materials for 2002. A summary of announcements from Medicare HMOs in several states appears below.
- Connecticut: ConnectiCare and MedSpan Health Options plan to drop Medicare+Choice plans in the state next year, which would affect about 39,000 seniors. ConnectiCare has about 24,734 Medicare+Choice members, including 14,410 in Hartford County, and MedSpan has about 14,000 members statewide. In New Haven County, Oxford Health Plans, which serves about 900 seniors, will offer a Medicare+Choice plan next year (Levick, Hartford Courant, 9/18).
- Florida: AvMed Health Plan will drop Medicare+Choice in six Florida counties, while Humana will continue to offer coverage in all its Florida markets, but will likely levy "significant" rate increases and benefit reductions. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida, however, plans to exit seven state counties next year, leaving 39,000 seniors without coverage (Skidmore, Florida Times-Union, 9/18). United Healthcare plans to withdraw from Broward County, which would affect 3,442 seniors, and Palm Beach County, which would affect 3,317. Beacon Health Plan intends to drop Medicare+Choice plans in Palm Beach County, which would affect 3,576 seniors, and Broward County, which would affect 523 (LaMendola, South Florida Sun-Sentinel, 9/18).
- Massachusetts: Tufts Health Plan, which serves 105,000 seniors statewide, announced increased monthly premiums -- $25 to $67 more per month -- for members in its Medicare+Choice plan. Tufts also plans to increase co-payments for some generic drugs. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Massachusetts, which serves 35,000 seniors, plans to boost monthly premiums $20 to $40 per month. In addition, the insurer plans to add a $50 per day charge up to $250 for hospital stays and a $25 per day charge for stays in skilled nursing facilities. In Essex, Middlesex, Norfolk and Suffolk counties, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Inc. plans to increase monthly premiums from $35 to $60 for the insurer's 38,000 Medicare+Choice members (Hel8/23dt Powell, Boston Herald, 9/18).
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