NEW YORK, Oct. 29, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- The Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) for Medicare is underway and runs through December 7. More than 3.5 million residents of New York receive Medicare coverage in one form or another, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).
Healthfirst, New York's largest not-for-profit health insureri, offers one of the top-rated Medicare Advantage plans in New York, having achieved a 4-Star rating by CMS for the year 2020. The rating is based on member experience in receiving quality care and services in 2018 and early 2019.ii
"When looking at plans, it is important that people realize that not all Medicare plans are the same and don't offer the same benefits. Healthfirst is very proud of achieving a 4-Star rating from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services for quality care and service, and members will experience that with us," said Paul Portsmore, Senior Vice President at Healthfirst. "The annual enrollment period is a time for people to review their current Medicare health and drug coverage and evaluate whether their premium, copays, and benefits still match up with their healthcare needs and budget as they look toward the coming year."
As part of the company's mission to provide its members with affordable health coverage and access to quality health benefits, Healthfirst's 2020 Medicare Advantage plans will offer a significant number of expanded benefits, including all medically necessary dental services covered for as low as $0, with coverage for dentures, crowns, and root canals; $0 copays for vision and hearing services; and a $150 monthly over-the-counter (OTC) allowance – up to $1,800 per year for its CompleteCare Plan, which is among the highest value for Medicare Advantage in the New York metro area. Medicare Advantage plan enrollments during AEP go into effect January 1, 2020.
"In designing our benefit offerings for 2020, Healthfirst listened to direct feedback from our members," said Portsmore. "We took into account what they felt they needed to get healthy and stay healthy, and from that research we enhanced our plans to include benefits such as an increase in the OTC allowance, which is now one of the highest amounts offered in New York; no or low-cost dental and vision coverage; access to the SilverSneakers® fitness program, which helps to promote an overall healthier lifestyle; and transportation to assist members in getting to and from healthcare providers and pharmacies."
With membership growth and expansion into new counties over the past year (including Westchester, Orange, and Sullivan), Healthfirst has also expanded its reach into communities with the opening of new community offices in Westchester and on Long Island, and plans to open more by the end of the year and in 2020. Healthfirst also has a broader Medicare broker network heading into the 2020 enrollment period.
"As Healthfirst continues to grow, we feel it is important to strengthen our presence in communities to ensure members and prospects have resources to go to for information and education about the complicated healthcare system and to help them understand health plan choices," said Portsmore.
Choosing a health plan can be confusing and stressful for some people. As it is so important that people choose the best plan for their health needs and budget, Healthfirst offers the following F.A.C.T.S. for choosing a Medicare Advantage plan:
- Familiarize yourself with your current benefits
- During the AEP, people can change from one Medicare Advantage plan to another, including adding prescription drug coverage—even if you have declined it previously
- Determine if you are eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid, as this can affect your plan choice
- Learn about additional health and wellness benefits such as access to dental, hearing and vision care, transportation services, and OTC allowances
- Assess if your healthcare needs have changed
- Check on copays and deductibles and fully understand your financial responsibilities
- Transitioning into Medicare? If you are 65 and aging into Medicare, consider a Medicare Advantage plan that offers all the benefits of Original Medicare plus prescription drug coverage and value-added services, all in one plan.
- Scan the Provider Directory to see whether your doctors and/or specialist are included in its network
Healthfirst is New York's largest not-for-profit health insurer, earning the trust of nearly 1.4 million members by offering access to affordable healthcare. Sponsored by New York City's leading hospitals, Healthfirst's unique advantage is rooted in its mission to put members first by working closely with its broad network of providers on shared goals. Healthfirst takes pride in being pioneers of the value-based care model, which is now recognized as a national best practice. For more than 25 years, Healthfirst has built its reputation in the community for top-quality products and services New Yorkers can depend on. It has grown significantly to serve the needs of members, offering market-leading products to fit every life stage, including Medicaid plans, Medicare Advantage plans, Long-Term Care plans, Qualified Health Plans, and individual and small group plans. For more information on Healthfirst, please visit healthfirst.org.
iBased on reported revenue for calendar year 2018.
iiMedicare evaluates plans based on a 5-Star rating system. Star Ratings are calculated each year and may change from one year to the next. Please visit https://www.medicare.gov/for more information on CMS' Star Ratings.