MINNETONKA, Minn., Oct. 3 -- UnitedHealthcare, a division of UnitedHealth Group, issued the following news release:
UnitedHealthcare, the market leader in Medicareii, today introduced its 2018 Medicare Advantage and prescription drug plans, featuring stable premiums and benefits, broad access and choices, and a personalized experience to help people live healthier lives.
UnitedHealthcare's Medicare Advantage plans offer greater simplicity, personalization and value for the health care dollar, while providing benefits, services and features not found with Original Medicare. More than 60 percenti of all Medicare Advantage enrollment growth in 2017 has been through UnitedHealthcare, the exclusive provider of AARP-branded Medicare plans.
"UnitedHealthcare offers a variety of affordable plan choices that feature enhanced benefits, predictable out-of-pocket costs and highly regarded physicians and hospitals so people can find the plan that's right for them," said Brian Thompson, CEO of UnitedHealthcare Medicare & Retirement. "People choose our plans more than any other because we combine our distinctive benefits with personal service tailored to support people in their individual health."
Highlights of UnitedHealthcare's 2018 plans include:
Stable Premiums & Useful Benefits
* UnitedHealthcare Medicare Advantage members will enjoy stable benefits in 2018. The majority of plan participants will experience no significant benefit changes or premium increases.
* UnitedHealthcare's Medicare Advantage plans offer an annual physical beyond the annual wellness visit covered by Original Medicare. Almost every plan offers a 24/7 nurse line for help with pressing health issues; vision and hearing exam coverage; and hearing aids at a reduced cost. Many plans also offer preventive dental coverage.
* Nearly three in four people enrolled in UnitedHealthcare Medicare Advantage plans will receive a fitness club membership at no additional cost, an added benefit supporting their health and wellness.
* Original Medicare does not cover most prescription drugs, but coverage is included in most UnitedHealthcare Medicare Advantage plans, giving people access to medications they may need without having to pay a separate premium for a stand-alone Part D plan.
Choice, Quality & Coordinated Care
* The company will expand its Medicare Advantage offering to nearly 100 new counties, giving about 1.5 million more Medicare eligibles (44 million people in all) the opportunity to choose UnitedHealthcare to meet their health care needs.
* UnitedHealthcare will offer people a choice of Medicare Advantage plans in most local markets to meet a wide variety of personal needs and preferences, including plans that maximize affordability and plans that may offer richer benefits, lower cost-sharing or more flexibility in access to specialists.
* People looking for the peace of mind of prescription drug coverage will continue to find a broad portfolio of stand-alone Part D plans from UnitedHealthcare. This includes the AARP MedicareRx Walgreens (PDP) plan, which more people joined than any other Part D plan in the industry in 2017iii. This plan offers a low premium, $0 copays for tier 1 and a $0 deductible for tier 1 and 2 medications, and convenient service at more than 8,200 Walgreens and Duane Reade locations nationwide.
* The company also offers a wide variety of Medicare supplement plans nationally. UnitedHealthcare introduced AARP Medicare Supplement Insurance Plan G in 2017, which enables consumers interested in a lower-premium plan option to get the coverage they need.
* Nearly three in four people enrolled in a UnitedHealthcare Medicare Advantage plan will be eligible for the HouseCalls program, which gives them the option to receive an annual health check-up in the comfort of their own home, at no cost. These visits often identify care opportunities, such as overdue immunizations or needed cancer screenings, and have been credited as life-saving. The company expects more than 1 million Medicare Advantage members will receive a HouseCalls visit in 2017.
* More than 2.5 millioniv people enrolled in UnitedHealthcare Medicare Advantage plans are treated by physicians who participate in the company's value-based, collaborative programs that reward physicians for the quality of care they deliver, rather than solely on how many procedures they perform.
UnitedHealthcare delivers a personal experience that helps people detect and manage health issues before they become acute. New and expanded technology-driven efforts benefiting UnitedHealthcare Medicare Advantage members include:
* Remote patient monitoring. UnitedHealthcare is piloting wearable biosensors to monitor people's health upon discharge from a hospital. Sensors track everything from heart rate and skin temperature to posture and movement, and even detect falls. The technology can identify issues before they become acute, while ultimately improving recovery time and reducing hospital readmissions.
* Activity trackers. UnitedHealthcare has a walking program in 20 states that provides Medicare Advantage members with activity trackers and encourages them to hit daily goals, including step counts (7,500 daily steps) and frequency of movement (a 5-minute walk, four times a day). Pilots showed promising results: nearly 70 percent of people who registered actively participated in the program, and three in four continue actively walking after more than one year.
* Virtual Visits. By 2018, more than 170,000 individual and more than 1 million Group Retiree Medicare Advantage plan members will have access to UnitedHealthcare's Virtual Visits. Whether using a smartphone for a scheduled video visit with a physician, or going online to get support when an unexpected health issue pops up, this technology helps people get the care they need, when they need it.
"Digital technology and connected devices can produce massive amounts of data, but that data, on its own, is not particularly useful," said Thompson. "UnitedHealthcare translates data and analytics into personalized and actionable information that can have a profound impact on the health and well-being of the people we serve."
The Leader in Serving People with Medicare
UnitedHealthcare serves more than 4.3 million people in Medicare Advantage, 4.9 million people through its portfolio of Part D prescription drug plans, and 4.4 million beneficiaries through its Medicare supplement plans.
Altogether, UnitedHealthcare serves one in five Medicare beneficiariesv .
People can make changes to their Medicare coverage during Medicare Open Enrollment, which runs from Oct. 15 to Dec. 7.
More information about UnitedHealthcare's 2018 Medicare plan offerings is available at www.UHCMedicarePlans.com.
People in the following communities can also visit a nearby UnitedHealthcare MedicareStore or MedicareStore-branded mall kiosk for personalized, one-on-one support with their enrollment decisions from licensed UnitedHealthcare agents:
* St. Louis; Colorado Springs, Colo.; Houston, Dallas and North Richland Hills, Texas; Tucson, Ariz.; Tukwila, Wash.; Henderson and Las Vegas, Nev.; Culver City and Loma Linda, Calif.; Fort Myers, Lakeland and The Villages, Fla; and Yonkers, N.Y.
UnitedHealthcare is dedicated to helping people nationwide live healthier lives by simplifying the health care experience, meeting consumer health and wellness needs, and sustaining trusted relationships with care providers. The company offers the full spectrum of health benefit programs for individuals, employers, military service members, retirees and their families, and Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries, and contracts directly with 1 million physicians and care professionals, and 6,000 hospitals and other care facilities nationwide. UnitedHealthcare is one of the businesses of UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH), a diversified Fortune 50 health and well-being company. For more information, visit UnitedHealthcare at www.uhc.com or follow @UHC on Twitter.
Plans are insured through UnitedHealthcare Insurance Company or one of its affiliated companies. For Medicare Advantage and Prescription Drug Plans: A Medicare Advantage organization with a Medicare contract and a Medicare-approved Part D sponsor. Enrollment in these plans depends on the plan's contract renewal with Medicare. UnitedHealthcare
Insurance Company pays royalty fees to AARP for the use of its intellectual property. These fees are used for the general purposes of AARP. You do not need to be an AARP member to enroll in a Medicare Advantage or Prescription Drug Plan. AARP and its affiliates are not insurers. AARP encourages you to consider your needs when selecting products and does not make specific product recommendations for individuals. United contracts directly with Walgreens for this plan; AARP and its affiliates are not parties to that contractual relationship.
You must continue to pay your Medicare Part B premium.
This information is not a complete description of benefits. Contact the plan for more information. Limitations, copayments, and restrictions may apply. Benefits, premiums and/or co-payments/co-insurance may change on January 1 of each year.
The formulary, pharmacy network, and/or provider network may change at any time. You will receive notice when necessary.
Other pharmacies are available in our network.
Statistics refer to UnitedHealthcare's standard Medicare Advantage plans (i.e. non-Special Needs Plans) unless specified otherwise.
i CMS Data, monthly enrollment by plan, December 2016 to August 2017. Excludes acquisition of Rocky Mountain Health Plan.
ii CMS Data, August 2017, and NAIC statutory filings, December 2016.
iii CMS Data, monthly enrollment by plan, January to August 2017.
iv Statistic refers to all UnitedHealthcare Medicare Advantage plans (including Special Needs Plans and Group Retiree), 2017.
v UnitedHealthcare internal data (unique lives only), 2017.
Targeted News Service, source News Service