Keeping covered

Fidelis Care offers health care coverage to seniors

By Claudia Mathis
Sun staff writer

During tough economic times, seniors need confidence in making important financial decisions, especially when it comes to finding quality, affordable health care. Medicare beneficiaries on a fixed income need a health care plan they can depend on.

Fidelis Care, the largest government programs-based health insurance company in New York State, continues to offer dependable coverage for seniors through its 2010 Medicare Advantage programs. Fidelis Care offers Fidelis Medicare Advantage in 22 counties and Fedelis Dual Advantage for residents eligible for Medicaid and Medicare in 17 counties. Both programs are available in Onondaga and Oneida Counties.

Through the end of the year, Fidelis Care will host a series of free Fidelis Medicare Advantage seminars in the Syracuse Diocese for local residents who are eligible for Medicare and want answers about coverage and benefits.

The seminars will be held Tuesdays, 10 a.m. to 11 a.m., through Dec. 22 at Denny’s, 7th North St., Syracuse; Wednesdays, 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., through Dec. 30, at Denny’s, 180 N. Genesee St., Utica; and Thursdays, 10 a.m. to noon, through Dec. 31 (except Thanksgiving), at Denny’s, 200 S. James St., Rome. Fidelis Care will also conduct a seminar at 10 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 18 at Stella’s Diner, 110 Wolf St., Syracuse.

Experts from Fidelis Care will explain the benefits of Fidelis Medicare Advantage and answer questions.

Fedelis Medicare Advantage plans feature low co-pays and lower out-of-pocket costs than traditional fee-for-service Medicare. Key benefits include no monthly plan premiums (members must continue to pay their Medicare Part B premiums), low co-pays for primary care and specialist visits, the freedom to choose thousands of quality doctors and hospitals, and no co-pays for lab tests and preventive services.
The program is also available with Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage, featuring a $4 co-pay for generic prescription drugs through the coverage gap.

The Fidelis Medicare Advantage Part B Reduction plan provides Medicare Advantage benefits as well as adding an extra $40 to members’ monthly Social Security checks, or $480 over the course of the year.

Tom Julian, Fidelis Care’s Regional Marketing Director, believes that in most cases, it’s beneficial for seniors to enroll in the Medicare Advantage program. “You’re getting more benefits at a lower cost,” he said. “After people do the research, most of them do enroll.”

The open enrollment period begins Nov. 15 and runs through Dec. 31. Coverage begins on Jan. 1 of next year.

Julian suggested that seniors should consider a number of things when determining the best available coverage for their needs. They should inquire about the cost, benefits, prescription medicines that are covered, cost of co-payments, a list of the doctors and hospitals that participate in the plan and whether it is permissible to go outside the network to visit another doctor, and if so, what would be the cost. Julian noted that seniors should also ask, “When can I enroll?” and “What will happen if I don’t enroll now?”

To learn more about the Fidelis Care health insurance programs, call 1-800-860-8707 or visit www.fideliscare.org.

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