Though some changes are in store for Minnesota health care programs in 2010, the Minnesota Disability Health Options (MnDHO) program, offered as UCare Complete, will continue to offer care, service, and coverage to Minnesota adults with disabilities.
That’s the word from UCare (http://www.ucare. org), an independent, nonprofit health plan that contracts with the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) to offer UCare Complete for people with physical disabilities who live in the seven-county metro area. UCare also offers UCare Connect, a Special Needs Plan for people with physical and developmental disabilities, and mental illness, which enrolls members in 34 Greater Minnesota counties.
Though changes are planned, care and service continue
First and foremost in the new year, UCare Complete members will continue to receive care coordination, necessary medical services, and home- and community-based services, said Ghita Worcester, senior vice president, marketing and public affairs, UCare. And AXIS Healthcare, UCare’s UCare Complete partner, will continue providing care coordination across all services.
UCare Complete members must have a certified primary physical disability; be at least 18 years old and under age 65; be on Medical Assistance, with or without Medicare Parts A and B; and live in the UCare Complete service area of Hen-nepin, Ramsey, Anoka, Dakota, Washington, Carver, or Scott counties.
The program currently combines both Medical Assistance and Medicare benefits for enrollees known as “dually eligible” members. However, due to Medicare payment changes, UCare Complete will cover only Medical Assistance benefits starting Jan. 1, 2010, and no longer combine Medicare and Medical Assistance benefits.
“This change required us to make some very difficult decisions,” said Worcester. “We cannot cover these deep Medicare reimbursements cuts from the federal government. So we acted to adjust UCare Complete and continue offering this valuable program to as many individuals as possible.”
New in 2010 will be the need for dually eligible members who remain eligible for both Medical Assistance and Medicare to choose their Medicare benefits from Original Medicare, or from an additional health plan or stand-alone Part D (Medicare prescription drug coverage) plan.
These members will need to choose a new Medicare Part D prescription drug plan with an effective date of Jan. 1, 2010. UCare recommends members begin this enrollment process no sooner than Dec. 1, 2009, because if they enroll in a Medicare Part D plan before Dec. 1, 2009, they will be removed from UCare Complete.
For UCare Complete enrollees who are only eligible for Medical Assistance, but not Medicare, “UCare Complete in 2010 will continue to provide these members with care coordination, necessary medical services, and home- and community-based services,” Worcester said.
UCare Complete’s support structure for all members remains the same, too. UCare will continue to handle the administrative matters and provider network, which was created using input from people with disabilities. The network includes medical specialists, primary care physicians, dentists, and personal care attendants/assistants with the leading providers and care systems across the Greater Twin Cities area.
AXIS Healthcare still provides the multi-disciplinary care coordination services through health coordinators who offer information, care coordination, timely care delivery, and are an on-call, around-the-clock resource.
UCare will notify members of member meetings it is holding in November about plan changes in 2010. UCare also suggests people contact the Disability Linkage Line (1-866-333-2466 toll free, Monday – Friday, 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. The TTY number is 711) for Medicare or Part D plan details.
“UCare has been a longtime program pioneer and advocate for people with disabilities,” said Worcester. “We are committed to UCare Complete and providing our members with resources they need to live healthy and independent lives.”
UCare Connect expands to metro in 2010
UCare Connect is UCare’s innovative and voluntary plan designed expressly for adult Minnesotans who have physical or developmental disabilities, and/or mental illness. Like UCare Complete, it offers a personal and coordinated approach to care. It emphasizes prevention and management of chronic care needs, and helps to effectively navigate health and social service systems.
UCare Connect is a Medicare Advantage Special Needs Plan that serves people certified as having a disability. DHS classifies UCare Connect as a Special Needs Plan for Medicaid recipients. It integrates Medicaid and Medicare services for Minnesotans who are 18-64 years old; receive Medical Assistance without Medicare, or with Medicare Parts A, B, and D.
Effective Jan. 1, 2010, UCare Connect will expand beyond its 34-county service area in Greater Minnesota to Hennepin, Ramsey, Anoka, Dakota, Washington, Carver, and Scott counties in the metro area.
UCare Connect members receive care from the same, extensive provider network serving the approximately 65,000 members of UCare’s UCare for Seniors Medicare Advantage plan. They can use UCare’s See-A-Dentist Guarantee to schedule routine dental appointments within 30 days, and receive care aboard UCare Tooth Care mobile dental unit.
To learn more about the advantages of membership in UCare Complete or UCare Connect, contact UCare at 612-676-3554, or 1-800-707-1711 (toll free). TTY: 612-676-6810 or 1-800-688-2534 (toll free), between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Or, visit www.ucare. org and click on “Health Programs.”