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For 2014, United Healthcare (UHC) is cutting 2,250 doctors from its Connecticut Medicare Advantage (MA) network. UHC is also closing one of its MA plans in New Haven County that serves 2,900 people and taking similar actions in other states.  Medicare Advantage enrollees who visit a doctor, hospital, specialist, or health center outside of UHC’s approved network can incur significant extra costs.

UHC Medicare Advantage enrollees may be concerned about keeping their current doctors. One easy solution to deal with UHC’s changes for people who want to keep their current doctors is to switch from their private Medicare Advantage plan, like United Healthcare, back to traditional Medicare. With traditional Medicare you can go to any doctor, hospital or specialist in the U.S. who participates in Medicare – without any concern of being out-of-network.  From October 15 – December 7, 2013, Medicare beneficiaries currently enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan, including United Healthcare, can dis-enroll from their MA plan for 2014, and return to traditional Medicare.  Medicare Advantage enrollees also have another opportunity to dis-enroll from their Medicare Advantage plan and return to traditional Medicare from January 1 – February 14, 2014.

The Center for Medicare Advocacy frequently hears from Medicare beneficiaries in Medicare Advantage plans who unknowingly go out of network and face unexpected charges. This problem doesn’t exist with traditional Medicare. Thus, we encourage Medicare beneficiaries to enroll in traditional Medicare – Parts A and B. You can find more information on our website www.medicareadvocacy.org or through your State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP, find yours at www.shiptalk.org).  In Connecticut, contact the CT CHOICES program (1-800-994-9422). 

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