HCFA approves options for Medicare HMOs

The Baltimore-based Health Care Financing Administration approved two new programs for Medicare beneficiaries in managed care plans to increase accessibility and provide flexibility. Enrollees in Minneapolis-based United HealthCare’s United Health Passport and in Washington, DC-based Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association’s Medicare Blue USA gained access to services in other areas.

United HealthCare will extend coverage for its Medicare enrollees when they travel outside their home plan service area. Extended coverage, available at no additional charge, includes preventive care, office visits, and prescription services for nine continuous months. Specialty and inpatient care will be available but requires prior authorization.

The United Health Passport will be accepted in 18 plans nationwide.

In a similar approval, Blue Cross members will receive routine and other care as guest members in other plans at no additional cost. Blue Cross will offer the expanded coverage in 15 plans.