June 14, 1999
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: CHRISTOPHER GOETCHEUS
(617) 521-7333

United Healthcare To Offer AARP Medigap Plans To All Medicare-Eligibles During Special Open Enrollment Period

(BOSTON, MA) The Massachusetts Division of Insurance announced today that United HealthCare Insurance Company will offer its AARP Medicare Supplement plans to all Medicare beneficiaries who are AARP members during a special open enrollment period that begins today. United HealthCare's decision follows the Division's implementation of an emergency regulation on September 27th waiving notification requirements Medicare Supplement insurers must meet prior to holding enrollment periods outside the statutorily required annual enrollment period of February 1st through March 31st.

Medicare eligible consumers statewide now have the opportunity to switch into Medicare Supplement plans offered by both Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts and United HealthCare during fall open enrollment periods for coverage that takes effect January 1st. United HealthCare's enrollment period commences today and concludes on December 6th. The Blue Cross Blue Shield optional enrollment began on October 1st and ends November 30th.

Commissioner Linda L. Ruthardt applauded the insurer's decision to provide seniors with another option during this critical time. "With the uncertainty in the Medicare HMO market, this provides seniors with another chance to continue seeing the doctors they choose."

On September 15th, the Division of Insurance called a special open enrollment for October 1st through November 30th in response to notification from the federal government that several Medicare HMOs were terminating their contracts in certain parts of the state. The decisions made by UnitedHealthCare and Blue Cross Blue Shield go beyond the Division's special open enrollment by offering coverage to all Medicare beneficiaries. Seniors with questions concerning Medicare Supplement insurance options and enrollment should contact the SHINE (Serving the Health Information Needs of Elders) Counseling Program at 1-800-882-2003.