CARE IMPROVEMENT PLUS EXPANDS FIRST HEALTH PLAN FOR CHRONICALLY ILL MEDICARE BENEFICIARIES INTO SOUTHERN MARYLAND
6,400 Southern Marylanders Now Qualify for Disease Management Focused Plan –
Baltimore, MD — October 31, 2006 — Over 6,000 Medicare beneficiaries in Maryland’s Calvert, Charles and St. Mary’s counties are now eligible to join Care Improvement Plus, Maryland’s first health plan to focus exclusively on chronically ill Medicare beneficiaries and their unique healthcare needs.
Care Improvement Plus has obtained formal approval from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to expand its Medicare Advantage “Special Needs” Plan, which provides all Medicare covered services, a tailored Medicare Part D drug benefit, and disease management services. The plan will now be offered to Medicare beneficiaries with diabetes, heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and/or end-stage renal disease (ESRD) in Baltimore City and Maryland’s Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Calvert, Carroll, Charles, Harford, Howard, Montgomery, Prince George’s and St. Mary’s counties.
“This is the first time a plan like this has been offered to Southern Maryland’s chronically ill seniors,” said Nelson Sabatini, president of Care Improvement Plus in Maryland. “While disease management focused health plans are a new concept, our focus on providing tools to help manage chronic conditions makes sense for this population. Not only can our services help them ward off avoidable disease complications such as amputation, blindness, stroke and heart attack, but we also can help address the approaching Medicare fiscal crisis by reducing the need for expensive treatments and hospitalizations.”
A recent government forecast (http://www.ssa.gov/OACT/TRSUM) attributes the approaching Medicare fiscal crisis to soaring healthcare costs, the approaching retirement of 78 million baby boomers, and their increasing demand for complex health services. In an effort to help improve care and rein in costs, the Medicare Modernization Act of 2003 allows Medicare Advantage organizations to offer Special Needs Plans to three groups of Medicare beneficiaries: those with chronic illness, those residing in nursing homes, and low-income individuals who qualify for both Medicare and Medicaid. Care Improvement Plus was approved to expand its chronic illness Special Needs Plan into Southern Maryland.
Each plan member is assigned a Care Improvement Plus care team comprising a dedicated local healthcare manager, local field nurse and telephone coach nurse — all of whom work closely with the member’s physicians to coordinate services and help provide optimal care. Members receive coverage that offers the advantages of traditional Medicare, plus additional benefits, care coordination, and services as appropriate, such as:
– the ability to see any provider that accepts Medicare
– $0 or no-cost premiums and co-pays
– comprehensive prescription drug coverage under Medicare Part D — with a formulary specifically designed for people with diabetes and other chronic health conditions
– expanded Medicare benefits including more comprehensive podiatry visits
– nursing support in person or by telephone
– medication monitoring and counseling
– medication and appointment reminders
– education on symptoms and early warning signs of complications
– tools to help monitor and manage health, such as diabetic protective shoes and/or blood pressure cuffs for those who qualify
– free transportation services
Care Improvement Plus also supports participating physicians with a variety of services designed to help them care for chronically ill patients, such as: compensation for time spent on non-Medicare covered services, an open-access model that doesn’t require referrals, collection of medical histories in advance of office visits, and easy-to-read reports containing all of each patient’s up-to-date information.
Care Improvement Plus is currently accepting enrollment applications for coverage effective January 1, 2007. To join, individuals must live in Maryland, be eligible for Medicare, and have diabetes, heart failure, COPD and/or ESRD. Those interested in learning more about the plan can call 800-711-1656 to speak with a plan representative or visit the plan’s Web site at http://www.careimprovementplus.com.
About Care Improvement Plus
Care Improvement Plus, a new health plan that focuses on the unique healthcare needs of chronically ill Medicare beneficiaries, provides a Medicare Advantage health plan and disease management services to Medicare beneficiaries living with heart failure, diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and/or end-stage renal disease. Care Improvement Plus also provides tailored Medicare Part D drug coverage, along with a variety of services designed to support physicians’ efforts to care for their chronically ill patients. Care Improvement Plus has received Full Accreditation for its patient and practitioner disease management program from the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA). The plan is administered by Baltimore-based XLHealth, one of the nation’s fastest growing disease management companies. More information about XLHealth and Care Improvement Plus can be found at http://www.careimprovementplus.com.