Fifteen companies are cleared to provide coverage in Kansas through the government's new Medicare prescription drug benefit program, which is set to begin Jan. 1.
One of the companies providing so-called "stand-alone" coverage, Humana Insurance Co., offers at least one plan with monthly premiums less than $20, the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Coverage said Friday, in identifying companies that had qualified to provide coverage nationwide.
The drug benefit is new for Medicare, the federal program that provides health benefits for elderly and disabled Americans. Marketing for the drug benefit plans is scheduled to begin Oct. 1, and enrollment begins Nov. 15.
"Everyone in Medicare who lives in Kansas will be able to choose a prescription drug plan that addresses their individual concerns about cost, coverage and convenience," said Mike Leavitt, secretary of Health and Human Services, in a statement.
All approved plans are required to provide coverage that is at least as good as Medicare's standard coverage, and officials say they will work to help people understand the programs as they become available.
Handbooks will be mailed early next month to all Medicare participants, and by mid-month more information will be available at www.medicare.gov and the government's 24-hour hotline, (800) MEDICARE, (800) 633-4227.
The Medicare hotline is answered at Pearson Government Solutions, a call and data center in Lawrence's East Hills Business Park.
Medicare beneficiaries also may receive personalized, local assistance by calling Senior Health Insurance Counseling for Kansas at (800) 860-5260.
Here are the 15 companies approved to provide stand-alone plans in Kansas:
¢ Connecticut General Life Insurance Co.
¢ Coventry Health and Life Insurance Co.
¢ Humana Insurance Co.
¢ Marquette National Life Insurance Co./Pennsylvania Life Insurance Co.
¢ Medco Containment Life Insurance Co.
¢ Memberhealth Inc.
¢ One Nation Insurance Co.
¢ Pacificare Life and Health Insurance Co.
¢ Silverscript Insurance Co.
¢ Sterling Life Insurance Co.
¢ United American Insurance Co.
¢ United Health Care Insurance Co.
¢ Wellcare Health Plans