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Medicare Options Expected Soon

Posted - Nov. 28, 2003 at 7:20 a.m.



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NEW YORK, Nov 28, 2003 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- Americans eligible for Medicare likely will see new insurance options and benefits as early as spring, according to the Wall Street Journal.

In a follow-up to this week's health-care legislation, managed-care companies that operate so-called Medicare + Choice options will get an immediate boost in government payments, making them a more attractive business opportunity.

Some managed-care companies are considering moving back into counties that they abandoned in recent years when government payouts failed to keep pace with rising costs. Others say they may restore some of the drug coverage that has been whittled away in recent years.

"Things could move very fast," said Peter Haytaian, vice president of government programs for Oxford health Plans Inc., which currently provides Medicare plans for 72,000 people, or 5 percent of its membership.

Until now, many insurers had retreated from the Medicare business -- one reason why the health-insurance lobby pushed so hard for payment increases as part of the Medicare legislation.

Copyright 2003 by United Press International.

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