News Release - Choosing a Medicare Advantage Plan - A Guide for Medicare Beneficiaries

For Immediate Release

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


Harrisburg, PA - December 04, 2007 - The Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council (PHC4) today announced the release of an updated publication to help older Pennsylvanians choose a Medicare Advantage Plan. Medicare Advantage Plans (also called Part C) are managed care plans offered by private insurance companies that manage the health care of their enrolled members.

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

PHC4's Choosing a Medicare Advantage Plan for 2008 lists managed care plans by county, provides comparisons on monthly premiums and co-payments, gives an overview of the benefits offered, and presents information about several quality measurements, as well as the results of patient satisfaction surveys. The guide only includes information on Medicare Advantage Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs) and Preferred Provider Organizations (PPOs).

Updated information about the Medicare "Part D" Prescription Drug Program is also included. In addition to an overview of the drug benefit, the report features county-specific information about the Medicare Advantage Plans that offer this prescription drug coverage. (This guide does not include information about the Medicare-approved "stand-alone" drug plans that only offer the prescription drug benefit.)

Consumers with specific questions about Medicare Advantage or Medicare Part D should call the Pennsylvania Department of Aging's APPRISE health insurance counseling service, toll-free, at 1-800-783-7067.

If individuals do not enroll in a plan when they are first eligible for Medicare, new member enrollment in Medicare Advantage Plans is generally restricted to a period from November 15 through December 31, 2007. If a person joins a Medicare Advantage Plan during this time, coverage will begin on January 1, 2008. Medicare does require that a person enrolling in a Medicare Advantage Plan already be enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B. With a few exceptions, Medicare Advantage Plans are required to accept new members regardless of their health status.

The publication is available online at A free hardcopy report may be obtained by calling PHC4 at 717-232-6787.