BIRMINGHAM, Ala., Dec. 20, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Although Medicare's annual enrollment period ended on Dec. 7, Medicare recipients in Alabama affected directly or indirectly by Hurricane Nate have until Dec. 31 to make a Medicare plan change for 2018 if they didn't act by the original deadline. The hurricane could have affected recipients either personally or affected the people who help the recipients with their coverage decisions.
Usually the annual enrollment period that recently ended is the only chance Medicare recipients have each year to choose a new health plan, but recipients are allowed special enrollment periods under certain circumstances, such as recipients in states affected by this year's hurricanes. A special enrollment period can be due to many circumstances. Just some of these include:
- Moving to a new address that isn't in the current Medicare plan's service area
- Having both Medicare and Medicaid, a Medicare Savings Program, or Supplemental Social Security (SSI)
- Receiving extra help through the Low Income Subsidy program to help pay for your prescription drugs.
No two special enrollment periods are the same. Some may give the Medicare recipient the opportunity to enroll at any time during the year while others are more limited. For example, if you were affected by Hurricane Nate, you only have until December 31 to make your plan selection for 2018. Plans like Viva Medicare can help Medicare recipients review their eligibility.
Medicare Advantage plans like Viva Medicare cover all the benefits of traditional Medicare, typically offer additional benefits, and usually include prescription drug coverage. Extra benefits that Viva Medicare offers next year beyond traditional Medicare include allowances for dental care and fitness center membership. Unlike traditional Medicare, Medicare Advantage plans cap the amount of yearly out-of-pocket costs members pay for medical care, and most charge set copays for doctors' visits and hospital stays.
For next year, Medicare recipients in Alabama can choose a Medicare Advantage plan named as one of the country's best by U.S. News & World Report. Viva Medicare is the only Medicare plan in Alabama to make the prestigious 2018 ranking. Viva Medicare's ranking is based off the overall quality score it earned from Medicare.
For 2018, Viva Medicare earned 4.5 out of 5 stars from Medicare on its Medicare quality performance, the first and only Alabama-based health plan to achieve that distinction. The score is based on 48 different quality measures that illustrate everything from customer service to how well the health plan helps its members stay healthy.
As part of its customer service and mission to assist Medicare recipients, Viva has six retail locations across Alabama, known as Viva Health "Cafés" and a welcome center at its corporate headquarters in downtown Birmingham. These sites are far more than a sales location – they are resources to Viva members throughout the year where they can attend health-related events and seek answers if they have questions about their coverage.
Viva Medicare is taking calls every day from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., except Christmas, through the end of the year. Medicare recipients can call 1-888-830-8482 (TTY call 711) to have their questions answered or to enroll.
About Viva Health:
Founded in 1995, Viva Health has a contract with the federal government to offer Medicare Advantage plans in 27 counties in Alabama and is licensed by the state to offer employer-sponsored coverage in 59 counties. Part of the UAB Health System, Viva Health has more than 46,000 Viva Medicare members and provides or administers health benefits to more than 55,000 members in employer group health plans. Viva Medicare has earned the top customer satisfaction survey score in the state for the past eight years in the Medicare & You handbook and was recently named by U.S. News & World Report as one of the best Medicare Advantage health plans in the country. Viva Health is headquartered in Birmingham, and customer service questions are answered by employees in Alabama.
Contact: Anna Velasco – firstname.lastname@example.org or 205-558-7641 for photos or an interview with a Viva representative
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SOURCE VIVA MEDICARE