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Firms court former Universal Health enrollees

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Medicare plan brokers and consultants are trying to get the attention of consumers stranded by the Universal Health Care Inc. liquidation proceedings.

Officials put the St. Petersburg holding company and its insurance operating company affiliate, Universal Health Care Insurance Company Inc., in receivership in March, then ordered liquidation to start April 1.

Medigap Advisors, a broker, and Allsup, a company with a fee-based Medicare plan advisory service, have said they believe the move will affect about 40,000 Medicare Advantage plan participants and many other plan participants in Arizona and Utah.

People eligible for Medicare normally have to shop for Medicare Advantage plans during an annual open-enrollment period.

Because the University Health Care plans have closed in the middle of the year, the enrollees in its plans have until May 31 to choose new plans.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has shielded enrollees from the effect of a loss of coverage by automatically enrolling them in traditional Medicare and arranging for enrollees who had prescription benefits to be enrolled in a comparable Medicare Part D prescription drug plan, the company said in a statement on its website.

Allsup has tried to attract attention for its plan selection support service by distributing a national press release that includes answers to five questions commonly asked by plan participants, such as whether the stranded enrollees can switched to new Medicare Advantage plans or must enroll in the traditional Medicare program.

Medigap Advisors, which sells both Medicare Advantage plans and Medigap products, has put out a national press release that discusses how a consumer could use a combination of traditional Medicare and a Medicare supplement policy to replace a Medicare Advantage plan.

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