OptumCare | KUTV

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Mallory is at Optum Community Center and Primary Care in Sandy answering all your questions about Open Enrollment.

Choosing a Medicare plan is one of the most important decisions a person can make not only for their health and well-being but also for their wallet. Amanda Walden, Sales Director Utah UnitedHealthcare, says for most people, this is their only chance to make changes to their Medicare coverage for next year. If they don’t make an enrollment decision, they may be locked into their current plan next year. If anything has changed this year, either with their current plan, health status or budget, that decision to do nothing could lead to unpleasant surprises or missed cost-savings in 2021.

The Medicare open enrollment period started Oct. 15 and closes next Monday, December 7. It is a one-in-a-year opportunity to make changes to Medicare coverage.

Generally, Medicare is available for people age 65 or older, younger people with disabilities, and people with End-Stage Renal Disease (permanent kidney failure requiring dialysis or transplant). There is no one-size-fits-all approach when shopping for Medicare coverage, so people should take time to understand the options available to them and what different plans offer. I encourage all people eligible for Medicare to take advantage of this opportunity and ensure they’re enrolled in a Medicare plan that will meet their health and budget needs for the year ahead.

Shelly Martin, President OptumCare Network of Utah says Medicare plans can be very confusing. That’s why OptumCare sponsors events like this, where people can call in and get questions answered by a licensed insurance agent. In general, we tell people to watch out for the three C’s, cost, coverage, and care.

Cost – Doesn’t just mean premiums. It also includes things like deductibles, copays, and coinsurance.

Coverage – Ask yourself: Has my coverage changed? Am I getting the same benefits? Are my medicines still covered? If you have Original Medicare, you might get more coverage by switching to a Medicare Advantage plan—that may include benefits like prescription coverage, dental, vision, and so on.

Care – At OptumCare, we have a network of doctors that want you to get the right care. Make sure your plan lets you see the doctors you want, go to the hospital you want, and see the specialists you need. Getting the right care is the whole point of the process.

Shelly says a couple years ago, we conducted a survey to gauge general understanding of Medicare and found that almost 40 percent of beneficiaries found the program confusing, so folks who are feeling lost are definitely not alone. While choosing a Medicare plan can feel complicated, it doesn’t have to be. We’re here to help you navigate the system and find a plan to meet your needs.

To make shopping for Medicare easier, consider the following.

Check if your current coverage is still meeting your needs, and see if your benefits will change next year.

Determine if the plan is a good fit for your budget. Pay attention to more than just a monthly premium. You should also understand the other out-of-pocket costs, including the deductible, copays and coinsurance.

Make sure your medications are covered. Even if you don’t expect to change plans, it’s important to make sure your drugs will still be covered next year. Remember, costs can change from year to year as well.

Confirm your preferred doctors and hospitals are available through the plan you’re considering.

Don’t forget about dental, vision and other additional benefits. For people on Medicare, many are surprised to find that Original Medicare doesn’t cover prescription drugs and most dental, vision and hearing services. However, many Medicare Advantage plans do.

Take advantage of wellness programs. Many people are surprised to learn that their plan offers benefits, programs and resources, such as a gym membership at no additional cost. This can support individual’s efforts to live a healthy life.

You can give us a call this afternoon/evening if you have general questions about Medicare and annual enrollment. We will be available until 7 p.m. Calling this number will direct you to a licensed insurance agent.

If you are interested in learning about all of the plans that are available in your area or have questions about Medicare in general, visit Medicare.gov or call 1-800-MEDICARE (TTY 1-877-486-2048; 24 hours a day, 7 days a week).

Call 385-365-5390 or visit uhcmedicaresolutions.com for more information.

Joining Mallory now is Dr. Chad Bittner, Chief Medical Officer at OptumCare Network of Utah, talking about the importance of provider networks when choosing a Medicare Advantage Plan. He says like many big decisions, it may be helpful to look at the value you are getting. One way to look at value is by evaluating the provider network you are choosing through a Medicare Advantage plan. A doctor network oftentimes referred to as a provider network, is a list of hospitals, doctors, nurses, and other healthcare providers that a specific plan has contracted with to provide your care while on the plan. Providers on this list are considered “in-network,” while providers not contracted with a plan are considered “out-of-network.”

At OptumCare, we have a vast network of more than 1,500 primary care doctors and more than 4,500 specialists locally for patients to choose from. A health plan with the OptumCare network means your doctor has more support to help keep you healthy. We are always working together with other doctors in the network to share successes, push new ideas, and find ways to help make care even better. Much of the work that OptumCare does is a seamless part of the patient experience. But OptumCare will also communicate with patients to encourage them to take action to stay healthy and live their best lives. This can include things such as getting their annual wellness visits and preventive tests. Having a connected network of experts means the patient gets the care that has been proven to work. And that will help the patient save time and money, and reduce stress.

It is more important than ever during times like these to provide stability and peace of mind for people when it comes to their care and coverage. The COVID-19 pandemic is profoundly altering the health care landscape. And while COVID-19 changed so much for so many of us, for UnitedHealthcare, it did not change our unwavering commitment to helping people access the care they need, whether in a health care setting or at home. It is essential that people do not put off needed care – something we have seen across the board. In fact, a recent CDC survey found that 40 percent of adults in the U.S. have delayed or avoided medical treatment during the pandemic.

Call 385-365-5390 or visit uhcmedicaresolutions.com for more information.

Amanda is back and says your Medicare coverage is set up to help ensure you have access to the care you need, even and especially during these times. In addition to providing access to doctors and hospitals, your Medicare coverage can also help you live a healthier life and achieve your health goals.

First, confirm your preferred doctors and hospitals are available through the plan you’re considering. Access to affordable, quality care is an important consideration when choosing a plan.

  • Most Medicare Advantage plans also cover telehealth visits, so confirm that coverage as you are exploring plan options.
  • In 2021, UnitedHealthcare will offer the nation’s largest Medicare Advantage network[i] across more plans, including many HMO plans. So wherever you are, members pay network costs when they see any of our more than 850,000 network care providers.
  • Most UnitedHealthcare Medicare Advantage plans also include HouseCalls, a program that offers people a yearly visit with a licensed clinician from the comfort of home, helping to coordinate needed care – including with an individual’s primary care provider; conducting health screenings and providing education on the management of chronic conditions.

Second, don’t forget about dental, vision and other additional benefits.

  • For people on Medicare, many are surprised to find that Original Medicare doesn’t cover prescription drugs and most dental, vision, and hearing services. But many Medicare Advantage plans do.

We encourage people to take advantage of wellness programs. Many people are surprised to learn that their plan offers benefits, programs and resources that can support them in their efforts to live a healthy life. For example, many UnitedHealthcare Medicare Advantage plans provide access to wellness and fitness benefits, like Renew Active –The gold standard in Medicare fitness programs for body and mind, Renew Active will be available to people enrolled in most Medicare Advantage plans and offers access to an extensive, nationwide network of gyms and fitness locations – one of the largest of all Medicare fitness programs.

Renew Active also offers access to local wellness classes and events, in addition to thousands of workout videos and an online brain health program from AARP Staying Sharp to help support a healthy mind and body from the convenience of home.

Medicare Advantage, which is also called Medicare Part C, combines Parts A and B into one plan offered by private insurance companies. Medicare Advantage enrollment has grown more than 40 percent over the last five years and now includes about one-third of all Medicare beneficiaries. It provides the convenience of combining all your coverage into one plan so you have just one card to carry in your wallet and one company to work with.

Additional benefits and services that Original Medicare doesn’t cover (vision, hearing and dental care, fitness memberships, disease management programs, 24/7 access to health care professionals, [HouseCalls,] [Renew Active] [Navigate4Me] [telehealth visits,] etc.).

People aren’t just changing their Medicare plan this time of year. they’re also looking to change doctors. Dr. Steven Richardson says many people change their Medicare plans and their doctors at the same time. They might have moved, their circumstances have changed, and so on. Here’s something to keep in mind when you shop for a doctor.

1.Look for a doctor who will take the time to listen to you, and answer all of your questions. Make sure you feel comfortable and heard. Do they explain your treatment options in clear language that is easy for you to understand?

2.You want someone who offers care that meets your unique needs as an older adult. A doctor who coordinates your care with the specialists you need and will help you make informed decisions.

When you sign up for Medicare Advantage you have to identify a primary care physician. You do want to make sure the doctor you want is part of the network of the plan you have chosen. You want a doctor who works just as hard keeping you healthy as caring for you when you’re sick. You want a doctor that will ensure you receive routine preventive care, including screenings and vaccines. By preventing problems or identifying them early, you are more likely to live a longer, healthier, and more satisfying life.

Call 385-365-5390 or visit uhcmedicaresolutions.com for more information.

There are a lot of great resources out there to make the process of choosing a Medicare plan easier. If you would like more information about UnitedHealthcare plans, call today to speak with a licensed agent that can answer all of your Medicare-related questions. Call 385-365-5390 or visit uhcmedicaresolutions.com and GetToKnowMedicare.com for great information.

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