State Releases HMO Guide for Seniors
The Office of the Patient Advocate on Thursday announced the release of its "California's HMO Guide for Seniors," intended to help the state's 1.3 million seniors understand how managed care plans operate, the Sacramento Bee reports. The free, 68-page guide aims to help seniors compare plans and explain processes such as appealing denial of services or collecting reimbursements.
OPA acting Director Ed Mendoza said choosing an HMO can seem overwhelming to seniors. The guide will help seniors "be wise consumers and empowered as their own advocates," he said. State HMO-licensing fees covered the cost of publishing the guide, Mendoza said.
Clare Smith -- president of California Health Advocates, a not-for-profit organization that provides information on Medicare -- said promotional materials seniors receive from HMOs can be "conflicting, misleading or confusing." She added, "The guide puts the right information in consumer's hands."
Shelley Martin -- executive director of the University of California-Berkeley Center for Community Wellness, which helped write the guide -- said HMO brochures often are written at a college reading level, while the average California resident reads at a seventh-grade level (Weaver Teichert, Sacramento Bee, 5/13).