Thousands forced to find new Medicare coverage as Premier exits insurance market
DAYTON, Ohio (WKEF/WRGT) - Approximately 9,800 people in the Miami Valley need to find new Medicare health insurance plans by the end of March as Premier Health Network exits the insurance market.
FOX 45 is empowering you to know what plans are available, and know what happens after the March 31 deadline.
For patients who do nothing in the next 19 days, you will be passively enrolled into a Medicare Plan D for prescriptions.
With 19 days left until the deadline, the Medicare Resource Center in St. Elizabeth's Place is staying open extended hours to help you pick what's next.
"They're frantic they're overwhelmed," said Jason Byram, who runs the center, "They're bringing us their Premier letters, they don't know what it means."
Byran says the problem with the amount of people seeking new coverage in such a short amount of time, is, "There's going to be a lot of folks that get missed. They may not have an appointment or be able to get to an agent, everybody's working pretty tough to help them transition."
Byram said the default Medicare D plan that Premier customers will be enrolled into may leave gaps in coverage of pricey prescriptions.
"Doesn't cover health benefits, just covers medication," Byram said, "And the ones that's selected for them might not even cover the medication that they're taking."
That's where the center wants to help.
Byram said Premier customers with questions about Medicare or seeking new insurance can come into their office in building A with no appointment necessary.
"We look up their medications, we look up their provider, health status goes into the equation, hospital of choice, and then we take all of that criteria and say well based on your unique situation," said Byram.
Byram said they will find you a comparable plan, whether it's with Medicare or a different insurance provider, and their services are free.
"Actually this is our ministry that's the reason we did it," said Byram, "We wanted to create something that was unbiased, that didn't need an appointment that could walk in five or six days a week."
The center will be open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Byram said the process takes about one hour.
After the March 31 deadline to switch plans, former Premier customers can still participate in a special Medicare enrollment plan until May 31.