HealthLeaders-InterStudy, a leading provider of healthcare market intelligence, reports in the latest California Health Plan Analysis that managed care is making a comeback in the Medicare market in California's rural, northern counties, as residents gain access to alternative plans to traditional Medicare Advantage.
"This year, managed care options are increasing in all 58 counties for Medicare recipients, who now have a choice of a regional PPO, a private fee for service (PFFS) plan and the consumer-driven medical savings account (MSA) plan," states Chris Lewis, HealthLeaders-InterStudy market analyst. "Most counties also have a regular Medicare Advantage plan to choose from, with Kaiser Permanente providing the most coverage in rural most Northern California counties."
The PFFS plans have seen 50 percent growth nationally, as middle- to higher-income seniors are finding them to be a viable alternative to Medicare supplement plans. Last year, only two plans, UnitedHealthcare's SecureHorizon and Blue Cross of California, offered PFFS options in a total of 17 counties across the state; this year, that number has grown to seven plans.
Even with these new options, traditional Medicare Advantage is still a scarce commodity in rural Northern California, with few choices other than Kaiser. However, with most having the choice of more than one PFFS plan, Medicare recipients will see more cost predictability and fewer network restrictions than a traditional 80/20 Medicare Part A and B plan.
Other news in the California healthcare markets: - Health plans stand to gain a significant customer base in the universal healthcare proposal unveiled by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, but they would no longer be able to pick who they insure and would have to further limit administrative costs. - Aetna has created a new breed of plan design, Aetna HealthFund HMO, which combines familiar features of the HMO with elements of consumer- driven plans. About Health Plan Analysis
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