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WPS receives approval on its prescription drug plans for Wisconsin seniors through Medicare
MADISON, Wis. – WPS Health Insurance (WPS), Wisconsin’s largest statewide not-for-profit health insurer, today announced that it has signed the contract from the federal government, through the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, to provide prescription drug coverage to Wisconsin’s Medicare-eligible residents through the new Medicare Part D benefit. Medicare is the federal program that provides health coverage to people over 65 and certain disabled persons under 65. This contract authorizes WPS to market its Part D prescription drug plans throughout the State beginning October 1.
“We are very pleased that our prescription drug plans have been approved by the federal government,” said Guenther Ruch, senior vice president at WPS. “With this approval, WPS will be able to provide Wisconsin seniors with affordable insurance that protects them against the high cost of prescription drugs.”
WPS will be one of approximately 18 prescription drug plan providers in Wisconsin, all of which were notified recently if they received federal approval. WPS will offer two plans from which Medicare-eligible Wisconsin residents can choose. It is expected that all providers’ plans will vary in the coverage they offer, including differing premiums, drug formularies and cost-sharing provisions such as, co-payments, co-insurance and deductibles.
“In anticipation of receiving approval, WPS has been speaking with Wisconsin seniors through focus groups and phone research. Seniors tell us they want plans that are simple to understand, predictable in their costs and will provide a real cost savings. We listened to that feedback and those priorities, we believe, are reflected in the WPS plans that were just approved,” said Ruch.
Beginning Oct. 1, seniors’ mailboxes will begin to fill with information about WPS’ and other companies’ plan choices. According to Ruch, it will be important for Medicare-eligible residents to closely evaluate their choices to determine whether the benefit is a good option for them.
The new Medicare prescription drug coverage, which was created as a part of the Medicare Modernization Act of 2003, will be available to all those eligible for Medicare. Initial enrollment begins Nov. 15, 2005, and goes through May 15, 2005. Those individuals who enroll in the benefit before Dec. 31, 2005, will receive coverage starting Jan. 1, 2006. There will be permanent financial penalties for those without current drug coverage who delay enrollment past May 15, 2006, and later want to participate in the program.
“With all the information to be shared with the Medicare-eligible population by the different plans and by the federal government, it is important for people to take the time to read and understand the information they are getting,” said Ruch. “Having many choices and options to obtain this insurance coverage means that people need to be good consumers and make the effort to determine what is best for them. Medicare prescription drug coverage has the potential to benefit hundreds of thousands of seniors in Wisconsin, and WPS is proud to be a part of the new program.”
WPS Health Insurance is a not-for-profit organization that has been providing quality health and benefit plan administration for businesses and individuals for nearly 60 years. WPS is one of the state’s largest health insurers and was founded by members of the State Medical Society of Wisconsin in order to help state residents who lacked proper medical insurance. Today, WPS, which has a Wisconsin network of more than 14,500 providers, 800 clinics and specialty care clinics and 129 hospitals, continues to address market needs by working closely with customers and health care providers. For more information about WPS Health Insurance, visit www.wpsic.com.