UnitedHealthcare Announces 2011 Medicare Plans
MINNETONKA, Minn. (Oct. 1, 2010) UnitedHealthcare, a UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH) company, today announced its 2011 Medicare product portfolio, which includes a comprehensive range of health and prescription drug plans that help seniors and other Medicare beneficiaries manage their health care costs.
In 2011, UnitedHealthcare will offer Medicare Advantage plans for individuals in 47 states and the District of Columbia. In areas where the company offers standard Medicare Advantage plans, more than 90 percent of Medicare-eligible individuals will have access to a UnitedHealthcare plan with a zero-dollar monthly premium.
The company's 2011 Part D prescription drug plans will offer members additional cost-savings through robust formularies and consumer benefits combined with a new discount on brand-name drugs in the coverage gap brought about by changes in federal regulations. With lower annual increases compared to other plans in many areas, UnitedHealthcare's AARP Medicare Supplement plans will remain competitively priced nationwide in 2011.
UnitedHealthcare currently provides its Medicare Advantage plans and stand-alone Part D prescription drug plans to more than 2 million and 4.5 million members, respectively. In addition, more than 2.9 million members are enrolled in its market-leading Medicare Supplement insurance plans. Many of the company's Medicare products carry the AARP name.
Medicare Advantage: Coordinated Care, Additional Benefits
The Medicare Advantage program is a critical source of medical coverage for more than 11 million Medicare beneficiaries. Despite changes in regulation and government funding in recent years, UnitedHealthcare has worked to provide seniors and other Medicare beneficiaries stable plans with predictable out-of-pocket costs and the knowledge that UnitedHealthcare Medicare Advantage members have access to benefits not found in original fee-for-service Medicare.
"Our members' coverage is critically important to their health, well-being and financial security, which is why we've worked very hard to preserve the benefits that our members have indicated are most important to them, including zero or low monthly premiums, predictable copays for prescription medications and doctor visits, and optional wellness benefits such as vision, hearing and dental plans," said Tom Paul, CEO, UnitedHealthcare Medicare Solutions.
Coordination of care is a distinguishing feature of the Medicare Advantage program, which emphasizes preventive care and chronic disease management to help people live healthier lives and navigate the health-care system wisely and affordably.
According to a 2009 analysis by America's Health Insurance Plans, members enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans spent fewer days in a hospital, were subject to fewer hospital readmissions and were less likely to have "potentially avoidable" hospital admissions for common conditions such as uncontrolled diabetes and dehydration as compared to beneficiaries enrolled in fee-for-service Medicare. Numerous studies have shown that preventable readmissions vastly increase health risks for Medicare recipients and are among the leading causes of excess costs for patients and the health-care system.
"By working closely with physicians to coordinate the full continuum of health services our members receive, we help them avoid unnecessary and high-cost care by effectively managing their chronic conditions and acute-care episodes," said Paul.
Part D Prescription Drug Plans: Continued Value and Stability in Benefits
On average, members currently enrolled in UnitedHealthcare's AARP MedicareRx Preferred plan will see a $5 decrease in their monthly plan premium in 2011. In addition, retail copays for Tier 1 drugs, which are the most commonly used among Preferred plan members, will remain relatively flat next year.
"The value we provide our members continues to make our AARP MedicareRx Preferred plan the most popular Part D plan in the country," said Paul. "As we designed our 2011 Part D plans, we focused on maintaining the benefits that are so attractive to our members, such as stable copays on the most commonly used drugs, low premiums, zero-dollar deductibles and broad formularies."
Annual Election Period: Consumer-Friendly Resource Helps Beneficiaries Choose a Plan
Medicare beneficiaries can learn more about UnitedHealthcare's Medicare offerings at UHCMedicareSolutions.com. This award-winning website features an online guide named Gwen who can help visitors match their health-care needs with UnitedHealthcare's Medicare choices in their specific county.
Medicare beneficiaries can enroll in a UnitedHealthcare Medicare Advantage or Part D prescription drug plan during the Annual Election Period, Nov. 15 to Dec. 31, 2010.
Medicare Made Clear: Demystifying Medicare, Simplifying the Enrollment Process
Responding to apprehension among seniors and other Medicare beneficiaries about changes in the Medicare program, UnitedHealthcare has also launched Medicare Made Clear, a campaign to empower those eligible for Medicare with the knowledge they need to make informed, personalized Medicare choices. The multi-faceted campaign includes events, retail partnerships and social media elements that provide opportunities for beneficiaries and their caregivers to access educational materials about Medicare in more than 8,000 locations.
"Many of our members are looking to us for answers and guidance," Paul said. "As part of our Medicare Made Clear campaign, we recently updated a user-friendly guide that explains Medicare and the variety of coverage options in simple language. This guide is available to anyone who asks, be they a member of one of our plans, one of our competitors' plans or a beneficiary in traditional fee-for-service Medicare."
About UnitedHealth Group
UnitedHealth Group is a diversified health and well-being company dedicated to helping people live healthier lives and making health care work better. With headquarters in Minnetonka, Minn., UnitedHealth Group offers a broad spectrum of health benefit programs through UnitedHealthcare, Ovations and AmeriChoice, and health services through Ingenix, OptumHealth and Prescription Solutions. Through its family of businesses, UnitedHealth Group serves more than 75 million people worldwide.