Medicare members now have another chance to join a 5-star Medicare health plan, plus there are more Kaiser Permanente 5-star plans available than last year. Instead of waiting until typical fall enrollment, the 5-star Special Enrollment Period gives Medicare beneficiaries the opportunity to enroll in a 5-star plan all the way through November.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services designed the special enrollment period to urge more seniors to enroll in high-quality 5-star plans. Health plans use a one- to five-star scale, in which five indicates the highest for performance excellence. Other key rating factors include how a plan helps members manage chronic conditions and stay healthy, as well as member satisfaction, pharmacy benefits and customer satisfaction.
“There are many factors to consider when selecting a Medicare health plan, but this quality rating should be weighed heavily,” said Jed Weissberg, medical director, Kaiser Permanente Medicare Plans. “It’s important that seniors become familiar with the Medicare Star Quality Ratings, so they can make informed choices and select a plan that provides the best care and service.”
Currently, Kaiser Permanente leads the U.S. in the highest number of 5-star Medicare health plans for 2013. Kaiser actually just added new 5-star plans in Maryland, Virginia, D.C. and Ohio. In those four states, along with California, Hawaii, Colorado and Oregon, the only 5-star health plans available are offered by Kaiser Permanente. In Washington state, Kaiser is one of only two 5-star plans.
“Whether seniors are enrolled in a Medicare health plan or getting services through Original Medicare, this is a good opportunity to learn more about their options and enroll in a 5-star plan,” said Herman Weil, senior vice president, Kaiser Permanente Medicare programs.
Eligible seniors can learn more about Medicare’s 5-star Special Enrollment at kp.org/medicare, medicare.gov, or calling 1-855-817-5831. Plan performance summary star ratings are assessed by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services each year and may change from one year to the next. Seniors and adults with disabilities, however, are required to meet certain criteria and live where a 5-star plan is offered to be eligible.
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