News Release - Choosing a Medicare Managed Care Plan - A Guide for Medicare Beneficiaries


Contact: Joe Martin, Communications Director
717-232-6787 or

Anne C. Bale, Press Secretary
Pennsylvania Department of Aging
Commonwealth News Bureau
Room 308, Main Capitol
Harrisburg, PA 17120


Harrisburg, PA - November 21, 2004 - The Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council (PHC4) and the Pennsylvania Department of Aging today announced the release of an updated publication to help older Pennsylvanians choose a Medicare Managed Care Plan.

"This report is designed to help explain the Medicare Managed Care Plan options that are available to older Pennsylvanians," said Marc P. Volavka, Executive Director of PHC4. "For the fourth consecutive year, PHC4 is pleased to assist Medicare beneficiaries with this easy-to-understand guide."

"There are so many choices facing older consumers today," said Secretary of Aging Nora Dowd Eisenhower. "By providing an independent perspective on the many different plans available to consumers, we hope they will find it easier to choose the option that best fits their needs."

Jointly issued by the PHC4 and the Pennsylvania Department of Aging, Choosing a Medicare Managed Care Plan, lists managed care plans by region, provides comparisons on monthly premiums and co-payments, gives an overview of the benefits offered, lists information about several quality measurements as well as the results of patient satisfaction surveys.

Medicare beneficiaries may join a Medicare Managed Care Plan at any time. However, some plans do restrict their new member enrollment to a period from November 15 through December 31, 2004. If a person joins a managed care plan during this time, their coverage will begin on January 1, 2005. Medicare does require that a person enrolling in a managed care plan already be enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B. With a few exceptions, managed care plans are required to accept new members regardless of their health status.

New to this year's report is information about the Prescription Drug Discount Card program, which will be offered to Medicare-eligible consumers until the full prescription benefit begins in 2006.

The publication is available online at or at A free hardcopy report may be obtained by calling PHC4 at 717-232-6787 or the Department of Aging's APPRISE health insurance counseling service, toll-free, at 1-800-783-7067.