HMSA ending Medicare plans, impacted customers need to act fast

Thousands of HMSA members may be in for a surprise.

HMSA is ending its Medicare plan for thousands of residents next year.

Coverage through HMSA’s Akamai Advantage is ending December 31, 2014 and if customers don’t choose a new plan before then, they could lose their prescription drug coverage and more.

“I’m used to just not doing anything and having it be available the next year. This year it’s not like that they actually have to make a choice,” said Pamela Cunningham with the State Health Insurance Assistance Program.

Because all five Akamai Advantage plans for Medicare members will close, customers can join a new plan starting October 15.

“There was a lot of little changes that actually ended up causing the plans and had to look and make sure they could be financially stable.”

HMSA will be opening four new plans, two for Oahu residents and two for neighbor islands as well, but the company says it will be more expensive.

HMSA says they know this will cause hardship for their medicare members and that the decision was difficult and painful.

The change coming after higher than expected cost of caring for medicare members as well as a reduction to federal medicare reimbursement to health plans.

HMSA says its something they had to do to continue offering the benefits.

There are more than 46,000 Akamai Advantage members, 36,000 of these members need to decide what they want to do in 2015. The other 10,000 get their health plan from their employers and their employer will take care of making decisions about the changes to their plan.

“They’re still going to cover hospital, labs, x-rays, doctor visits so they’ll still cover that, but their co-pay may be higher and premiums may be a little higher,” said Cunningham.

Cunningham says the best thing to do once you are notified is to take care of things as soon as possible.

“We don’t want people to be alarmed because they have plenty of time but we want to make sure they don’t wait until the last minute,” said Cunningham.

HMSA says customers should be getting a packet of information in the mail this week. Once they get this packet they should either call HMSA or visit an HMSA center or office. For more information, log onto hmsa.com

 

 

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