PacifiCare to Continue to Offer Medicare+Choice Plan in Orange County for Now, Phanstiel Says
Although PacifiCare Health Systems Inc. announced last week that it would pull out of Medicare+Choice in 15 California counties next year -- dropping 32,713 beneficiaries -- the nation's largest Medicare managed care provider will "stay put" in Orange County, the Orange County Register reports. Still, Medicare beneficiaries in the county will pay higher deductibles and copayments and see their prescription drug benefit scaled back. The Register interviewed PacifiCare CEO Howard Phanstiel about the insurer's future participation in Medicare+Choice and the possibility of the federal government restoring some funding to the program. When asked about PacifiCare's future in Orange County, Phanstiel said, "I can't guarantee that if Congress doesn't stabilize the program, we won't have to address the program here ... [but] I wouldn't foresee any market exits in Orange County for a long time" (Wolfson, Orange County Register, 9/25).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.