Medicare Advantage in Arizona
In most areas of the country, Medicare beneficiaries can choose whether they want to use Original Medicare (coverage provided directly by the federal government) or enroll in a private Medicare Advantage plan.
39 percent of Arizona Medicare beneficiaries had Medicare Advantage coverage as of 2017, compared with an average of 33 percent nationwide. Most of the rest of the state’s Medicare beneficiaries had coverage under
Original Medicare, but there are also some enrollees in Arizona who have Medicare Cost plans.
There are Medicare Advantage plans for sale in all 15 counties in Arizona in 2019, but plan availability varies considerably from one part of the state to another. In part of Pinal County, there are only two plans (the rest of Pinal County has 31 plans available), while residents in Maricopa County can select from among 41 different Medicare Advantage plans.
Each fall, the Medicare annual election period, from October 15 to December 7, gives Medicare beneficiaries the option to switch between Medicare Advantage and Original Medicare. And as of 2019, Medicare Advantage enrollees have access to a Medicare Advantage open enrollment period (January 1 to March 31) during which they can switch to a new Medicare Advantage plan or drop their Medicare Advantage plan and enroll in Original Medicare instead.
The UnitedHealthcare Medicare Advantage plans cover features and benefits in addition to those included in Original Medicare. Members in some areas may have different plans from which to choose. The plans often include an integrated Medicare Part D prescription drug benefit.
• UnitedHealthcare MedicareComplete Assure (PPO).
Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) plans have a defined network of contracted local physicians and hospitals to provide member care. Generally, members must use these care providers to receive benefits for covered services, except in emergencies. Some HMO plans do not need referrals for specialty care.
Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) plans offer members access to a network of contracted physicians and hospitals, but also allow them the flexibility to seek covered services from outside of the contracted network, usually at a higher cost. Members do not need a referral for specialty care.
PPO plans are available as either local PPO (certain counties within a state) or regional PPO (RPPO) offerings. RPPOs serve a larger geographic area – either a single state or a multi-state area. RPPOs offer the same premiums, benefits and cost-sharing requirements to all members in the region.