POMONA, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--It seems like just yesterday they were wearing bell bottoms and flashing peace signs, but flash forward 40 years and thousands of Orange County Baby Boomers are about to become eligible for Medicare.
Over the next 18 years, baby boomers will be turning 65 at the rate of about 8,500 a day, nationally.1 And locally, with more than 760,000 baby boomers, Orange County is also predicting a surge in seniors in the coming years.2
Inter Valley Health Plan (www.IVHP.com), a not-for-profit, federally qualified, Medicare Advantage health plan dedicated to providing the best value in senior health care coverage, recently expanded its Medicare services to the North Orange County, now covering Riverside, San Bernardino and portions of Los Angeles and Orange.
With more than 34 years’ experience serving seniors in Southern California, Inter Valley has heard virtually every question Medicare eligibles have had. Here is a list of the more common questions Orange County Baby Boomers (and seniors) have about Medicare plans today.
What does healthcare reform mean for Medicare? The Affordable Care Act will not impact Medicare recipients. There is confusion because the open enrollment period for the new Exchanges – or the open market plan for individual health coverages – does overlap with Medicare’s Open Enrollment Period. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is working to reassure beneficiaries that their benefits are not changing. Yes, there is debate on future funding, but most politicians are very hesitant to cut benefits. Inter Valley provides “Medicare 101” seminars – at no cost – to answer more questions.
What do the different letters mean? You’ll be hearing about Medicare Part A, B, C and D. Each letter designates a specific portion of health care coverage. For example, Medicare Part A covers inpatient hospital stays, nursing home, hospice care and some home health. Medicare Part D helps to subsidize prescription drug coverage. It’s important to understand what Medicare covers and what options you will have under your Medicare Advantage plan.
What’s the difference between Medicare Advantage and Traditional Medicare? For years, most Baby Boomers have had decisions about their health plans made by their employers; now it is their turn. Make sure you carefully compare what Medicare and Medicare Advantage plans can offer. Medicare Advantage Plans – sometimes called Medicare Part C – are offered by private companies that provide hospital and medical (Medicare Part B) coverage – and sometimes prescription drug plans. To help understand, Inter Valley offers a useful glossary of terms associated with Medicare.
How much is it going to cost? One of the biggest misunderstandings about Medicare Advantage plans is cost. You still pay your Medicare premiums with an Advantage plan, and some plans may also charge an extra premium, depending on what services are offered. Look very carefully at costs to ensure you are getting value for your premium. Inter Valley offers no additional premium with their plan.
What should you look for in a plan? There are a wide range of Medicare options available to Orange County residents. Some plans may or may not offer features – like transportation – that you may not need or low-cost gym memberships – that you may want. Also, Medicare ranks health plans on 57 different measures on preventive care, customer service and quality of care and then assigns a star rating. Look carefully at the ratings and benefits offered and ensure they are right for your lifestyle and needs.
How can I get answers to questions? One of the top complaints consumers have with Medicare Advantage Plans is poor customer service. Be sure to look for a company that is ranked high in that category and really understands your market. Inter Valley consistently ranks as one of the top plans in terms of customer service and offers local Medicare Information and Vitality Centers to provide answers in person.
The Annual enrollment period for Medicare Advantage plans is October 15 – December 7, 2013. During this time, those age 65 and over or permanently disabled - or just looking to switch plans - should research their options to choose the best health plan to meet their individual needs. Any changes made during this time will take effect January 1, 2014.
For additional tips and for more information regarding Inter Valley’s Medicare Advantage Plans, visit one of the many Medicare Information and Vitality Centers or call (800) 251-8191/TTY/TDD DEVICES (800) 505-7150 or visit www.IVHP.com.
About Inter Valley Health Plan
Inter Valley Health Plan is a not-for-profit, federally qualified, HMO contracted with Medicare and dedicated to providing the best value in senior health care coverage. Headquartered in Pomona, Calif., Inter Valley Health Plan strives to improve the quality of life for seniors throughout its service area and is one of the oldest managed care plans in Southern California with over 30 years in business. Entrusted by 20,200 individuals stretching from Los Angeles to Orange County to Palm Springs, Riverside, Hemet, Victorville, Temecula, and virtually every city and town in between, Inter Valley Health Plan is dedicated to keeping its members healthy and strong, while maintaining non-profit and real service values. For more information, please visit www.IVHP.com or call Cyndie O’Brien, VP Marketing & Communications, (909) 623-6333. Also, please become a fan of us on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/InterValley.