After thousands of elderly Rogers County residents learned that they were losing their health benefits through CommunityCare in 2018, many were left understandably confused and worried about the future.

According to letters received by roughly 2,800 Rogers Countians in recent weeks, CommunityCare’s Senior Health Plan (HMO) which offers Medicare Advantage and Part D (prescription drug) coverage to Oklahoma residents would no longer be available in Rogers County.

According to Betsy Penturf, manager/corporate communications strategist with CommunityCare of Tulsa, the decision to remove coverage availability to Rogers County residents “an extremely difficult one.”

“The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) determined their existing plans could not be offered in Rogers County because those plans were unable to meet the network adequacy standards established by CMS for provider access,” Pentuff said, “so the decision was made — and it was a difficult one — to no longer offer Medicare Advantage (in Rogers County).

“We deeply care about our members in Rogers County and across Oklahoma and want them to know that we’re here to help in any way that we can during this difficult time of transition,” she said

One Oklahoma-based insurer who is still offering Medicare plans in the area is GlobalHealth, which also provides general tips and resources to help Rogers County seniors make the best healthcare decisions.

“Despite the recent news that several health insurance companies are pulling out of certain northeast Oklahoma counties leaving thousands of area seniors without health insurance, Oklahoma-based GlobalHealth remains committed to seniors in the area by continuing to offer Medicare Advantage and Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug plans in Tulsa, Rogers, Muskogee, Creek, Garfield, McClain and Mayes counties,” said Scott Vaughn, GlobalHealth president and CEO.

Another resource which Rogers County CommunityCare members may utilize to help during the transition is the Oklahoma Insurance Department’s Medicare Assistance Program (MAP).

In a statement, Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner Joan D. Doak said: “It is important that beneficiaries take action before Dec. 31, 2017 to ensure they have coverage beginning Jan. 1, 2018. We want affected consumers to carefully read the letter received from their carrier and take action to ensure there is no lapse in health and prescription drug benefits.”

Consumers may call MAP at 800-763-2828 to ask questions or schedule an appointment to review their coverage.

CommunityCare’s Medicare Advantage coverage will remain available to Rogers County residents through the remainder of 2017.

For information about CommunityCare of Oklahoma, visit www.ccok.com.

For more information or tips about alternative Medicare resources, contact CommunityCare at 918-594-5323, the Senior Health Insurance Counseling Program at 1-800-763-2828, or Medicare at 1-800-MEDICARE.

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