310 Sansome Street
P.O. Box 729
Philipsburg, MT 59858
(406) 859-3271
info@gcmedcenter.org

Your 2018 Medicare Advantage Options

Maria Stoppler, CEO - DON, January 19, 2018

Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Montana chose to exit the Medicare Advantage Market in Granite County and 31 other rural Montana counties, leaving Humana as the only Medicare Advantage plan offered in our county. Medicare Advantage enrollees that had their plan terminated have until February 28, 2018 to choose a new option in the Special Enrollment Period (SEP).
We want our community to be aware that Humana Medicare Advantage plans are currently being offered within the county even though there are no local providers currently within their network. The plan being offered requires the patient have a primary care provider to manage their care. If patients go with a Humana plan and use Granite County Hospital District services, currently we are out of network and patients will be charged higher copays through that plan.
Granite County Hospital District understands the change has created a great deal of uncertainty and stress. Please know, we have already taken the appropriate steps to begin contract negotiations to become an in-network provider, but we cannot predict whether this process will be successful. We realize this is not ideal for our community and want to make sure our patients are informed.
What are your options? As a consumer, local seniors can choose Humana for which no providers are currently within network throughout the county, or they can enroll in traditional Medicare. Traditional Medicare however does include a Part B premium, copays and deductibles. The hospital offers a Rural Health Discount Plan to patients to help with the cost of copays and deductibles based on eligibility. Granite County Hospital District Business Office staff are more than willing to provide information as to whether or not an individual will qualify for assistance under the hospital's plan based on household income. Beyond that we are unable to make recommendations for coverage options. The Area Five Agency on Aging can, however, advise seniors on Medicare options and we recommend using them as a resource.
Granite County Hospital District is working hard on our end to help local seniors navigate this uncertain time. Healthcare in general, along with healthcare insurance markets, is undergoing nearly constant change that we are forced to respond to. Two years ago when we ended our contract with New West Medicare, we made significant efforts to inform our New West Medicare patients and ensure that they had another option. Unfortunately, this time around, we were given no forewarning which has provided time constraints that leave our patients with very few alternatives. We highly value our Medicare patients and being able to offer them care close to home is our mission. We will continue to keep the community posted as more develops around this issue.

Sincerely,

Maria Stoppler, CEO / DON
Granite County Hospital District
PO Box 729
Philipsburg, Montana 59858
406-859-3271
Website: www.gcmedcenter.org
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ Granite-County-Hospital-District