Thousands of senior citizens in Ocean County will have to find a new provider for their Medicare Advantage plans and Part D prescription drug coverage, following the announcement that several providers are pulling out of New Jersey.
The providers, Geisinger Gold, Aetna Value and AmeriHealth, will not renewing members’ Medicare Advantage and Part D plans. It is estimated up to 25,000 New Jersey seniors will be getting termination letters this week and will need to find another plan for 2017, including more than 3,000 in Ocean County, which houses the highest number of seniors in the state.
“Geisinger Gold is currently partnered up with the Meridian Healthcare system and the Aetna Value plan was a very popular choice these past years for Ocean County members,” said Derrick Buckley, owner of the Buckley Insurance Group in Brick, which specializes in Medicare coverage.
Aetna Value customers will be “mapped” to a different plan, while Geisinger and AmeriHealth members will be fully terminated, Buckley said.
“Ever since Obamacare started, we’ve had major healthcare companies pulling out. They’re just claiming they can’t be profitable,” said Buckley, adding that state-level regulations on health insurance providers have contributed to a number of companies contending they cannot make a profit. Geisinger, for example, will continue to offer the plans in Pennsylvania.
Medicare’s open enrollment period is currently underway and will last through Dec. 1. There are a few options for seniors whose plans have been terminated, or those who are just looking for a new provider for next year.
Buckley said his office, located in Brick, offers a free service to seniors to connect them with plans that suit there needs. Anyone with an interest in the service can call 732-746-3320 for more information, or visit the company’s website.
Additionally, seminars on the topic will be held at numerous locations, presented by Ocean County officials. One such seminar will take place Nov. 1 at the Brick Senior Center, 373 Adamson Road, (VFW building) Brick.