Significant Savings on Medicare Costs for Consumers Affected by the Economic Downturn
MINNEAPOLIS .- UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH) today announced its 2009 portfolio of Medicare products offering seniors improved health care and opportunities for disease prevention, coupled with strong financial savings for seniors on fixed incomes and dealing with higher living costs. Ovations, UnitedHealth Group’s health and well-being company for seniors, will offer Medicare beneficiaries the most comprehensive range of money-saving health-care choices available in the market when open enrollment begins on November 15, 2008.
Ovations’ Medicare portfolio includes the nation’s most popular Medicare Advantage plans, the leading Medicare Part D prescription drug plans, one of the largest Medicare Supplement insurance programs, and innovative special needs plans. Many of the company’s Medicare plans carry the AARP name.
“With rising food, gas, and heating costs, now is the time to look at the savings from joining a SecureHorizons® Medicare Advantage plan, or one of our Part D and Medicare Supplement plans,” said Simon Stevens, chief executive officer of Ovations. “Nine million seniors already place their trust in the savings and health benefits we deliver for them – going into 2009 we encourage all Medicare beneficiaries to take a look at our plans and benefits, and the value they deliver.”
Medicare beneficiaries can learn more about the UnitedHealth Group’s family of Medicare solutions at the newly launched Web site: www.uhcMedicareSolutions.com. The online tool is a user friendly resource to help consumers match their health-care needs with Medicare choices. This site includes an interactive guide, named Gwen, who provides seniors with understandable options and advice to make personalized, confident health-care decisions.
This year’s Medicare annual enrollment period occurs at a time when a recent AARP survey found that 59 percent of people 65 and older have found it more difficult in recent months to pay for essentials, and seniors are spending nearly a fifth of their incomes on health-care costs.
The federal government has calculated that people who chose a Medicare Advantage plan on average gained more than $1,000 a year in reduced costs and improved benefits compared with traditional fee-for-service Medicare. Many SecureHorizons Medicare Advantage plans are ‘zero premium’, meaning that seniors can opt for an integrated medical and drug benefit without having to pay their current standalone Part D or Medicare Supplement premiums.
“Congress has just mandated significant changes to Private-Fee-For-Service Medicare Advantage plans over the coming two years, so this is a good time for seniors in those products to consider moving to one of our SecureHorizons Medicare Advantage plans,” Stevens added.
SecureHorizons also offers enhanced health and wellness programs not available from traditional Medicare, including a health discount program that offers typical savings of 10 to 50 percent on hundreds of health and wellness products and services, such as dental care, alternative treatments, weight-loss programs, fitness clubs, vitamins, medical supplies, and many other healthy lifestyle needs. Members have access to a 24-hour, seven-days-a-week, toll-free hotline to talk to a registered nurse who can provide evidence-based health information on more than 430 topics such as healthy aging and diet, chronic conditions, and the possible causes of up to 300 different symptoms. In 2008, the helpline received more than 1.6 million calls from SecureHorizons members.
There are also real savings and protection against the rising cost of drugs in UnitedHealth Group’s Part D prescription drug plans. Preferred mail service and switching to generic prescription drugs have reduced drug costs by nearly $400 million over the past two years for Part D members.
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