Care Improvement Plus Launches Texas’ First Health Plan for on Chronically Ill...

Care Improvement Plus Launches Texas’ First Health Plan for on Chronically Ill Medicare Beneficiaries

580,000 Texans qualify for new disease management focused plan


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San Antonio, TX–(HISPANIC PR WIRE)–October 30, 2006–More than half a million Medicare beneficiaries in Texas are eligible to join Care Improvement Plus, Texas’ first health plan to focus exclusively on chronically ill Medicare beneficiaries and their unique healthcare needs.

Care Improvement Plus has obtained formal approval from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to offer a new type of Medicare Advantage “Special Needs” Plan that provides all Medicare covered services, a tailored Medicare Part D drug benefit, and disease management services to approximately 580,000 Medicare beneficiaries in Texas with diabetes, heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and/or end-stage renal disease (ESRD).

“This is the first time a plan like this has been offered to Texas’ chronically ill seniors,” said Care Improvement Plus’ Regional Vice President Lee Spruiell. “While disease management focused health plans are a new concept, our focus on providing tools to help manage chronic conditions makes sense for this population. Not only can our services help them ward off avoidable disease complications such as amputation, blindness, stroke and heart attack, but we also can help address the approaching Medicare fiscal crisis by reducing the need for expensive treatments and hospitalizations.”

A recent government forecast (http://www.ssa.gov/OACT/TRSUM) attributes the approaching Medicare fiscal crisis to soaring healthcare costs, the approaching retirement of 78 million baby boomers, and their increasing demand for complex health services. In an effort to help improve care and rein in costs, the Medicare Modernization Act of 2003 allows Medicare Advantage organizations to offer Special Needs Plans to three groups of Medicare beneficiaries: those with chronic illness, those residing in nursing homes, and low-income individuals who qualify for both Medicare and Medicaid. Care Improvement Plus was approved to offer a chronic illness Special Needs Plan to residents of Texas.

Each plan member is assigned a Care Improvement Plus care team comprising a dedicated local healthcare manager, local field nurse and telephone coach nurse – all of whom work closely with the member’s physicians to coordinate services and help provide optimal care. Members receive coverage that offers the flexibility of traditional Medicare, plus additional benefits, care coordination, and services as appropriate, such as:

— The ability to see any provider that accepts Medicare

— $0 or no-cost premiums and co-pays

— Comprehensive prescription drug coverage under Medicare Part D – with a formulary specifically designed for people with diabetes and other chronic health conditions

— Expanded Medicare benefits including more comprehensive podiatry visits

— Nursing support in person or by telephone

— Medication monitoring and counseling

— Medication and appointment reminders

— Education on symptoms and early warning signs of complications

— Tools to help monitor and manage health, such as diabetic protective shoes and/or blood pressure cuffs for those who qualify

— Transportation services

Care Improvement Plus also supports participating physicians with a variety of services designed to help them care for chronically ill patients, such as: compensation for time spent on non-Medicare covered services, an open-access model that doesn’t require referrals, collection of medical histories in advance of office visits, and easy-to-read reports containing all of each patient’s up-to-date information.

Care Improvement Plus is currently accepting enrollment applications for coverage effective January 1, 2007. To join, individuals must live in Texas, be eligible for Medicare, and have diabetes, heart failure, COPD and/or ESRD. Those interested in learning more about the plan can call 866-648-9845 to speak with a plan representative or visit the plan’s Web site at http://www.careimprovementplus.com.

About Care Improvement Plus

Care Improvement Plus, a new health plan that focuses on the unique healthcare needs of chronically ill Medicare beneficiaries, provides a Medicare Advantage health plan and disease management services to Medicare beneficiaries living with heart failure, diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and/or end-stage renal disease. Care Improvement Plus also provides tailored Medicare Part D drug coverage, along with a variety of services designed to support physicians’ efforts to care for their chronically ill patients. Care Improvement Plus has received Full Accreditation for its patient and practitioner disease management program from the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA). The plan is administered by Baltimore-based XLHealth, one of the nation’s fastest growing disease management companies. More information about XLHealth and Care Improvement Plus can be found at http://www.careimprovementplus.com.

Care Improvement Plus Launches Texas’ First Health Plan for on Chronically Ill Medicare Beneficiaries