A Changing Nevada Medicare Landscape

The 2018 Medicare annual election period brought significant changes. Let’s review them so seniors can stay informed.

         Two new Medicare Advantage Plans

  1. Select Health from Utah came to Nevada with a new MAPD HMO    type plan. In addition to a traditional HMO plan they also introduced several Special Needs Plans (SNP) for seniors with Diabetes, Heart or lung issues. Their plans have a new Medical group called P3 which I will explain later in this blog.
  2. Hometown Health from Northern Nevada introduced their new HMO called Senior Care Plus. This plan also uses the new P3 network of Doctors.

         Several new standalone drug plans

  1. Cigna has introduced a couple of new drug plans in the Nevada   market as has Wellcare and Mutual of Omaha. These plans bring

an already crowded field to 26 plans available in Nevada.

         Major changes in insurance company ownership

  1. CVS has completed the purchase of Aetna and has agreed to sell the Aetna standalone drug plans in 2020 to Wellcare. That leaves CVS with the Aetna brand of MAPD and their own SilverScript’s brand of standalone drug plans. There is also talk in the industry of other ownership changes coming in 2019 but it is too early to tell because they may not happen.

         Plans changing names

  1. Senior Dimensions, the oldest MAPD plan in Nevada got a new name. It is now call AARP Medicare Focus. Same plan, same Doctors, just a new name.

         New Medical group in Nevada

  1. P3 is a newly formed medical group in Nevada. They are a spinoff of Healthcare Partners. This new group services both Select Health and Senior Care Plus in Nevada. They have also contracted as an additional group of Doctors for Aetna.

For those seniors who are aging into Medicare in 2019, please make the correct decision for your needs. That starts with when to apply for Medicare. If you are collecting social security already, social security will issue you your new Medicare ID card about 4 months prior to you turning 65. If you are not collecting social security, you have to apply yourself. You have the 3 month period prior to your birthday, the month of your birthday and 3 months after your birthday to apply. If you wait longer than that you will incur lifetime penalties. The easiest way to apply is to go to www.ssa.gov/medicare. The entire process takes less than 10 minutes. Of course you can call them at 800-772-1213 or visit the local social security office but applying on-line is easier and faster.

2019 brings some exciting changes to the Nevada Medicare marketplace and change is a good thing for everyone. These additional options means seniors have more choices and that can be overwhelming since we are talking about insurance. Consider that there are 18 MAPD plans, 26 standalone drug plans and 10 Medicare Supplements from at least 4 dozen different companies.

Now is the time to seek the advice of a seasoned Medicare insurance broker who represents all the plans in Nevada and can assist you in finding the correct plan for you.

Len Barend, broker The Barend Agency Inc.




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