NU Online News Service, July 24, 12:25 p.m. – PacifiCare Life and Health Insurance Company, Santa Ana, Calif., a subsidiary of PacifiCare Health Systems Inc., Santa Ana, today announced it will begin marketing a new supplemental health insurance plan for Medicare beneficiaries.

The Secure Horizons Medicare Supplement plan is designed to fill the gaps in coverage provided under the original Medicare program, PacifiCare Life says. The plan, which received approval from the California and Arizona departments of insurance, will begin enrollment in September, with effective dates starting in October.

Product filings are pending in five other states. The company says it expects to enroll up to 1 million policyholders within five years.

Secure Horizons Medicare Supplement plan policyholders will be able to visit any doctor or hospital participating in the federal government’s Medicare program, which serves seniors and the disabled, PacifiCare Life says.

In addition, the policyholders will receive discounts on prescriptions, over-the-counter medications, vision, hearing and behavioral health services, and alternative medical treatments such as chiropractic care and acupuncture services.

Four product choices will be offered, including Medicare Supplement plans A, C, F and G.

Plan A is a basic plan that covers hospital and physician coinsurance. The other plans add more coverage, such as skilled nursing coinsurance, deductibles and coinsurance for inpatient and outpatient hospital services and physician charges, PacifiCare Life says.

Monthly premiums are determined by plan selection, age, rating region and use or non-use of tobacco. A 65-year-old non-smoker living in Los Angeles, for example, will pay $95 for Plan A and $150 for Plan F, while in Fresno, that same individual would pay $65 for Plan A and $104 for Plan C or F, PacifiCare Life says.

The Secure Horizons Medicare Supplement plan is one of two new insurance products PacifiCare is offering for 2002 as part of its business diversification and expansion strategy. The other product is a preferred provider organization health plan that the company is planning to introduce in a few months.