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

For Immediate Release

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


Harrisburg, PA - November 22, 2005 - The Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council (PHC4) today announced the release of an updated publication to help older Pennsylvanians choose a Medicare Managed Care Plan.

"This report was created 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 fifth consecutive year, PHC4 is pleased to assist Medicare beneficiaries with this easy-to-understand guide."

PHC4’s 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, and lists information about several quality measurements, as well as the results of patient satisfaction surveys.

New to this year's report is information about the Medicare "Part D" Prescription Drug Program, through which coverage begins on January 1, 2006. In addition to an overview of the new drug benefit, the report features county-specific information about the Medicare-approved drug plans that are being offered.

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

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, 2005. If a person joins a managed care plan during this time, their coverage will begin on January 1, 2006. 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.

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