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Connect Care to Again Enter Medicare Market_

Connect Care in Farmington, which had stopped selling Medicare health plans seven years back, said that it would re-enter the market this fall by offering several Medicare Advantage plans statewide.

The insurer's program, known as Connect Care VIP Medicare, will sell HMOs, a private fee-for-service plan and a special needs plan for diabetics.

HMO members have to use physicians within the specified network, and fee-for-service members can visit any doctor who accepts Medicare reimbursement.

The plans, as well as the HMOs, do not require a referral to see specialists, and all will be obtainable with Medicare Part D prescription coverage.

Medicare Advantage plans take the place of the traditional federal Medicare program.

The private insurers cover the benefits that traditional Medicare does and occasionally extras and are reimbursed by the federal government.

Connect Care says its plans will take in such features as disease management programs and limited dental benefits for $150 a year for routine dental care.

Connect Care’s monthly premiums will vary from zero to $159.50 a person. Enrollment commences from Nov. 15 for coverage that starts Jan. 1, 2008.

Connect Care had 24,734 members in a Medicare HMO in 2001, when it publicized that it would put an end to the plan at the end of that year.

The insurer carped that yearly increases in federal reimbursement were falling far short of the rising costs of the plan.

Now, nevertheless, the government has an improved and "risk-adjusted" system, reimbursing based on the relative health of an insurer's Medicare Advantage membership, said Paul Philpott, Connect Care’s senior vice president and chief marketing officer.

In addition, he noted that the company got support and expertise for re-entering the market from the HIP Family of Health Plans in New York, its parent

Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield and Aetna (NYSE:AEF) (NYSE:AET) returned to the Medicare Advantage market in Connecticut a year back.

Others selling various kinds of Medicare plans in Connecticut take in Health Net (NYSE:HNT), UnitedHealth Group (NYSE:UNH), Humana (NYSE:HUM), Senior Whole Health of Connecticut, Well Care, and Universal American Financial Corp. (NASDAQ:UHCO)



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