The Carilion Clinic Medicare Health Plan (a Medicare Advantage Plan) will not be offered in 2014. According to Carilion, it sent a letter to about 3200 plan members in Southwest Virginia, explaining what their options are for future Medicare coverage. In 2010, Carilion launched the plan to provide enhanced benefits to patients at an affordable price. Unfortunately, recent federal changes to the Medicare Advantage Program would have required it to significantly reduce benefits or charge significantly more just to stay in business. Rather than pass along reduced benefits or more costs, Carilion says it made the difficult decision to not offer the plan in 2014.
Coverage with Carilion Clinic Medicare Advantage ends December 31. If you don't take action before then, you'll have Original Medicare coverage only and will lose prescription drug coverage unless you join a separate Medicare prescription drug plan.
From Carilion's President and CEO Nancy Howell Agee:
· Join another Medicare Advantage health plan. Because our plan will no longer be offered, you can join a new plan anytime between October 15, 2013 and February 28, 2014. A Medicare Advantage health plan is offered by a private company that contracts with Medicare to provide benefits. These plans cover all services that Original Medicare covers and may offer extra coverage such as vision, hearing or dental and most include prescription drug coverage. If they don't cover prescription drugs, you'll need a separate plan to receive prescription drug coverage. If you wait until after February 28 to join a new plan with prescription drug coverage, you may have to pay a late-enrollment penalty.
· Change to Original Medicare. Original Medicare is fee-for-service coverage managed by the federal government. If you choose Original Medicare, you may wish to consider a separate Medicare prescription drug plan. You may also want to buy a Medicare Supplement Insurance (Medigap) policy to augment your Original Medicare coverage.
For assistance in comparing plans:
· Call the Virginia Insurance Counseling and Assistance Program (VICAP) at 1-800-552-3402. All counseling is free. TTY users should call 711.
· Call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) to request assistance in choosing a new plan.
· Visit Medicare's official website, www.medicare.gov <http://www.medicare.gov/>, for tools that can help compare plans and answer questions. Click Find health & drug plans to compare the plans in this area.
· Call the Virginia Bureau of Insurance at 1-877-310-6560 for information on Medigap plans. TTY users should call 1-804-371-9206.
With all the choices, I know it can be difficult to choose the best Medicare coverage. Please take advantage of these resources to learn more about your options. If there is anything we can help answer for you, please contact Carilion Direct at 1-888-964-6620.
Regardless of the option you choose, you will still be able to continue seeing your current Carilion doctor.
YOUR 2014 MEDICARE OPTIONS