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Open enrollment period spotlights senior health plans

Although much of the recent media attention surrounding health care in the U.S. has been focused on the health insurance exchanges created by the Affordable Care Act, this is also an important time of year for seniors as the Medicare Open Enrollment period has begun and the elder population is looking at coverage options available in the coming year.

Dr. Pejman Bady of HealthCare Partners of Nevada said it is important for seniors to do their research before deciding on what plan to accept, and be ready to sign up for that coverage before the enrollment period ends in December.

“The last thing you want to happen is to look around and then miss the deadline. Secondly, there is an affordable care open enrollment going on as well and we want to make sure our seniors don’t mix that up. If you are age 65 or older you need to be focused on Medicare,” he said.

In Pahrump there are two supplemental insurance options for seniors on Medicare. They can choose between either Senior Dimensions or Humana.

Although HealthCare Partners is not contracted with Senior Dimensions to provide Medicare services, it is contracted with Humana. Bady said the most important thing for seniors to consider as they look at their options is which plans carry the doctors they already see. Other important questions to answer include who has the most specialty services and physicians closest to home and which plans give them better coverage both medically and with prescriptions. Patients are generally urged to choose the plan with the overall best fit.

“I think the questions year after year are the same, which should I go with, which one is better, which will benefit me the most and so forth,” the doctor said. “In Pahrump our choices are limited, there are two. I recommend our seniors to think about their lives and what they want to accomplish and what’s best for them. What specialty care they need, where they have to go for care, do they have to drive? We work with a lot of specialists in our group and we offer a good number of specialists in the local area.”

Bady added that for those who may be looking for Medicare coverage for the first time or do not currently have a primary care physician in the local area, they should consider the number of physicians available to them locally under each plan and which gives them the best coverage for where they live.

For those considering the Humana plan, Bady said he would like people to know HealthCare Partners has a large number of physicians and specialists in the Pahrump area and that the group recently hired a second geriatrician to work full-time in the community as well.

“We’re very diligent in looking at our candidates that come out to Pahrump. We just brought on a seasoned physician from Cedars-Sinai Hospital in Beverly Hills, and we just hired another physician that will start in January, who is a board-certified geriatrician because of the high number of seniors we see. For a population our size, that is almost unheard of. I was personally very adamant about bringing in another geriatrician to work with our patients here in Pahrump,” Bady explained.

HealthCare Partners has also announced the group is hosting a number of town hall meetings to inform residents about the Medicare Open Enrollment process and what the physician group has to offer.

Open enrollment runs from Oct. 15 through Dec. 7.

For a list of times and places for the town hall meetings visit http://www.hcpnv.com/.

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