VENTURA COUNTY: Seniors Gather to Discuss Medicare HMOs
Concerned about the discontinuation of the contract between PacifiCare's Secure Horizons and two St. John's hospitals, more than 100 seniors gathered last week at the Camarillo Health Care District's community room to ask officials about the state of Medicare HMOs, the Ventura County Star reports. Members needing medical service must now travel to Ventura's Community Memorial Hospital. Panelist Betty Berry, senior advocate for Conejo Valley Senior Concerns, said, "Losing Secure Horizons is not the end of the world. If you want to keep your current doctor, ask him if he belongs to other HMO plans. You can drop any plan and enroll in one he belongs to." Seventy-nine-year-old Bob Hasen did just that. He said, "I immediately dropped Secure Horizons and joined Blue Shield so I could keep my own doctor and be allowed to go to St. John's Pleasant Valley Hospital." Panelist Dr. Jeffrey Allan, a geriatric medical specialist, allayed fears when he told the audience that he had spoken to St. John's administrator Charles Padilla and the two sides appeared close to an agreement. Berry also addressed concerns about why Secure Horizons had initiated a $30 monthly fee in Ventura County, but not Los Angeles County. She said that Secure Horizons "had to add the fee because they don't get reimbursed enough by Medicare to give [seniors] the service they should." Ventura County HMOs receive $365 for each member, compared to $600 in Los Angeles (Waggoner, 2/11).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.