To Patients of Mansfield Family Practice:
Recently many of you have received a letter from Care Partners Connecticut, a Medicare Advantage plan, which appeared to come from Mansfield Family Practice and endorse their plan.
This is not correct as the letter was sent without the express authorization of MFP. Here are some facts about Traditional Medicare and Medicare Advantage plans.
With the Medicare open enrollment period beginning on October 15, we want to encourage our Medicare patients to choose carefully between traditional Medicare and joining a private Medicare Advantage plan. Mansfield Family Practice takes care of patients in both Medicare models, but there are increasing public promotions of Medicare Advantage, including on TV and in the mail. Medicare Advantage is not best for everyone. Here are some pros and cons to consider:
- Traditional Medicare allows access to all doctors, health care providers, hospitals and facilities that accept Medicare nation-wide.
- All people in traditional Medicare have access to similar benefits, which are available to them wherever they are around the country
- People in traditional Medicare usually do not require prior authorization to see specialists
- People with traditional Medicare can choose whatever Medicare prescription drug plan best serves their needs
- People with traditional Medicare often have better access to home health care, nursing homes, and rehabilitation
- People with traditional Medicare often benefit from purchasing a “Medigap” policy to pay for Medicare cost-sharing.
- Lower-income people can get help paying for Medicare cost-sharing
- Medicare Advantage plans are like HMOs. They usually limit your choice of doctors, health care providers, hospitals, and facilities to a “network” of certain providers within your local geographic area.
- Medicare Advantage plans can cut doctors and other health care providers from the plan network during the year (in 2013 United Healthcare cut 2,250 Connecticut physicians from their plan, in 2019 Anthem plans to cut a large number of Connecticut specialists from their MA plan)
- Medicare Advantage requires “prior authorization” from the MA plan for many health care services
- Medicare Advantage often includes a prescription drug plan and some additional “supplemental” benefits such as help with dental care, gym memberships, and other benefits for some participants
- Medicare Advantage cost-sharing can be less than in traditional Medicare