About AARP Secure Horizons Medicare Advantage

By Joshua Duvauchelle

  • Overview

    Medicare is a social health insurance program that covers Americans over the age of 65. Medicare is funded by tax revenues. There are different types of Medicare plans that vary depending on the needs of the individual being covered, such as the Medicare Prescription Drug Plan and the Medicare Advantage Plan. Each of these plans are managed by various public- and private-sector corporations. SecureHorizons, a subsidiary of the UnitedHealth Group, is one of the main providers of Medicare Advantage.
  • History

    The Medicare Advantage (MA) Plan, provided by SecureHorizons, is Part C of the four components of the overall Medicare Plan (Part A, B, C and D, respectively). MA plans were not an original aspect of the Medicare program when it was first signed into law. When Medicare was created in 1965 by President Lyndon Johnson, it was originally made up of just Part A and B. The Medicare program went through two major revisions since then. In 1997, the Balanced Budget Act created the Medicare Advantage plan to the original two-part Medicare program. This expansion allowed American individuals covered by Medicare health insurance to receive their care through private health insurance plans. In 2003, the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act was put into effect to modernize all Medicare and Medicare Advantage plans to make use of new health and communication technology.
  • Significance

    Medicare Advantage insurance plans provide a significantly large portion of the population with much-needed health insurance where they would otherwise not be covered. Prior to the AARP-set retirement age of 65, many individuals receive their health insurance as part of the worker benefits distributed by corporations and businesses to employees. However, these individuals are no longer eligible for such health insurance when they retire and leave the active workforce. Such lack of coverage comes at a time when an individual may need increased health assistance due to aging. The Medicare program is the only social health program administered by the United States government to provide this demographic with health coverage for essential medicines and operations such as organ transplants. Without Medicare, many of these individuals would forgo medical treatment or become a financial burden to local hospitals.

  • Size

    Medicare Advantage plans administered by private corporations such as SecureHorizons cover a large portion of the population. Individuals are eligible to apply for Medicare from SecureHorizons if they are American citizens or residents that are 65 years or older, or if they are disabled. Annually, an average of over 40 million American citizens receive health care through Medicare and Medicare Advantage plans. This number is steadily rising. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services predicts that over 77 million Americans will be covered by Medicare by the year 2031.
  • Features

    Medicare Advantage plans provided by SecureHorizons distribute the full Medicare benefits covered by the Medicare Advantage program. The government reimburses SecureHorizons every month for a portion of the monthly health insurance premium charged by SecureHorizons. With a SecureHorizions Medicare plan, most of an individual's health needs are covered nationally. As required by law, the SecureHorizons Medicare Advantage plan exceeds the original standards of the 1965 Medicare program. Because SecureHorizons is a nationwide corporation, there is no set premium rate, and some state branches of SecureHorizons offer different plans at different rates. Contact your local SecureHorizons office (contact information in the Resources section at the end of this article) to get a quote and to learn about the different MA plans available in your area.
  • Warning

    Medicare Advantage plans offered by private corporations such as SecureHorizons are not without their critics and problems. The Medicare program in general faces financial problems, and its overseers (such as the Medicare Board of Trustees) often petition the government for additional financial support. The quality of some Medicare providers have also been questioned. For example, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) reported in 2001 that many private Medicare providers gave potential customers inaccurate information. For this reason, it is important to contact an official Medicare government official to compare both Medicare Advantage plans and Medicare providers to find the plan and provider that best fits your needs. The government's Medicare office can be contacted at (800) MEDICARE--(800) 633-4227)--or at medicare.gov.
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