The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

Regional

April 5, 2013

Special Election Period for Some Medicare Beneficiaries

Universal Health plans terminate; beneficiaries have one-time option to change coverage

Friday, April 5, 2013 — RALEIGH — More than 2,700 Medicare beneficiaries in North Carolina are eligible for a special election period due to the cancellation of Medicare Advantage plans issued by Universal Health Care and Universal Health Care Insurance Company.

 

Universal was ordered into receivership by the state of Florida for the purposes of rehabilitation and liquidation. Contracts for coverage provided by Universal through plans such as Any Any Any and Hassle Free were terminated on April 1, 2013. Beneficiaries will not experience a lapse in coverage; the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services have automatically enrolled those affected in Original Medicare and stand-alone prescription drug plans offered through Humana, United, Coventry and Envision. Beneficiaries are to be notified of the contract termination and coverage changes by mail.

 

Through May 31, 2013, affected beneficiaries have a one-time option to:

 

·         Select another Medicare Advantage or Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug plan; or

·         Stay with Original Medicare and also enroll in a Medicare Supplement (or Medigap) policy; or

·         Stay with Original Medicare but change the CMS-generated enrollment to another prescription drug plan.

 

SHIIP, the Seniors’ Health Insurance Information Program, can provide free, unbiased information and enrollment assistance to former Universal beneficiaries. SHIIP, a division of the North Carolina Department of Insurance, can be reached during standard business hours at 800-443-9354.

 

“We want to make sure that everyone affected by the termination of Universal’s Medicare plans understands their rights and options,” said Wayne Goodwin, North Carolina insurance commissioner. “SHIIP staff members stand ready to assist with any questions about Medicare coverage.”

 

Beneficiaries can also call 1-800-MEDICARE for assistance. If calling Medicare directly, beneficiaries are instructed to tell the operator that they are a “Universal beneficiary” and that they need to discuss their new coverage.

      

In North Carolina, Universal policies were issued in 26 counties. The following is a list of the number of residents who were enrolled in a Universal plan by county.

 

Anson – 52

Buncombe – 273

Burke – 155

Cherokee – 36

Clay – 28

Currituck – 26

Dare – 12

Davidson – 44

Forsyth – 19

Guilford – 12

Jackson – 11

Jones – 87

Lenoir – 187

Macon – 22

Madison – 23

McDowell – 169

Mecklenburg – 95

Mitchell – 57

Moore – 304

Pamlico – 16

Pasquotank – 104

Rutherford – 585

Swain – 79

Transylvania – 42

Vance – 306

Yancey – 28

 

SHIIP is a division of the North Carolina Department of Insurance that offers free, objective information about Medicare, Medicare prescription drug coverage, Medicare Advantage, long-term care insurance and other health insurance information. SHIIP’s trained volunteers provide one-on-one counseling in all 100 counties. For more information about SHIIP or to get answers to Medicare questions, call SHIIP directly at 800-443-9354 or visit www.ncshiip.com.

 

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