ROANOKE, Va. -

Carilion Clinic is dropping its Medicare Advantage plan, affecting about 3,200 customers.  Carilion said it has decided to not offer the plan for 2014.

Here is the complete announcement from Carilion Clinic:

You recently received a letter explaining that our Carilion Clinic Medicare Advantage plan will be discontinued in 2014 and what your options are for future Medicare coverage. We regret that we had to close the plan, and I’d like to give you a more complete explanation. In 2010, we launched our plan to provide enhanced benefits to valued patients like you at an affordable price. Unfortunately, recent federal changes to the Medicare Advantage Program would have required our plan to significantly reduce benefits or charge significantly more just to stay in business. Rather than pass along reduced benefits or more costs to you, we made the difficult decision to not offer the plan in 2014.

We wanted to let you know as quickly as we could so you can take advantage of the special enrollment period to switch to another Medicare Advantage plan or go back to Original Medicare.

Your coverage with Carilion Clinic Medicare Advantage ends December 31. Now is the time for you to consider your options. If you don’t take action before December 31, you’ll have Original Medicare coverage only and will lose prescription drug coverage unless you join a separate Medicare prescription drug plan.

YOUR 2014 MEDICARE OPTIONS

· Join another Medicare Advantage health plan. Because our plan will no longer be offered, you can join a new plan anytime between October 15, 2013 and February 28, 2014. A Medicare Advantage health plan is offered by a private company that contracts with Medicare to provide benefits. These plans cover all services that Original Medicare covers and may offer extra coverage such as vision, hearing or dental and most include prescription drug coverage. If they don’t cover prescription drugs, you’ll need a separate plan to receive prescription drug coverage. If you wait until after February 28 to join a new plan with prescription drug coverage, you may have to pay a late-enrollment penalty.

· Change to Original Medicare. Original Medicare is fee-for-service coverage managed by the federal government. If you choose Original Medicare, you may wish to consider a separate Medicare prescription drug plan. You may also want to buy a Medicare Supplement Insurance (Medigap) policy to augment your Original Medicare coverage.

RESOURCES FOR MEDICARE INFORMATION
For information on Medicare and Medicare Advantage plans:
· Visit www.medicare.gov.

· Refer to the Medicare & You Handbook for a list of all Medicare Advantage health and prescription drug plans in this area.

For assistance in comparing plans:
· Call the Virginia Insurance Counseling and Assistance Program (VICAP) at 1-800-552-3402. All counseling is free. TTY users should call 711.

· Call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) to request assistance in choosing a new plan.

· Visit Medicare’s official website, www.medicare.gov, for tools that can help compare plans and answer questions. Click Find health & drug plans to compare the plans in this area.

· Call the Virginia Bureau of Insurance at 1-877-310-6560 for information on Medigap plans. TTY users should call 1-804-371-9206.

With all the choices, I know it can be difficult to choose the best Medicare coverage. Please take advantage of these resources to learn more about your options. If there is anything we can help answer for you, please contact Carilion Direct at 1-888-964-6620.

Regardless of the option you choose, you will still be able to continue seeing your current Carilion doctor.

I wish you the best of health.

Nancy Howell Agee

President and CEO

Carilion Clinic