For Immediate Release: April 3, 2012

Special Election Period for Some Medicare Beneficiaries

Universal Health plans terminate; beneficiaries have one-time option to change coverage

RALEIGH -- More than 2,700 Medicare beneficiaries in North Carolina are eligible for a special election period due to the cancellation of Medicare Advantage plans issued by Universal Health Care and Universal Health Care Insurance Company.

Universal was ordered into receivership by the state of Florida for the purposes of rehabilitation and liquidation. Contracts for coverage provided by Universal through plans such as Any Any Any and Hassle Free were terminated on April 1, 2013. Beneficiaries will not experience a lapse in coverage; the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services have automatically enrolled those affected in Original Medicare and stand-alone prescription drug plans offered through Humana, United, Coventry and Envision. Beneficiaries are to be notified of the contract termination and coverage changes by mail.

Through May 31, 2013, affected beneficiaries have a one-time option to:

SHIIP, the Seniors’ Health Insurance Information Program, can provide free, unbiased information and enrollment assistance to former Universal beneficiaries. SHIIP, a division of the North Carolina Department of Insurance, can be reached during standard business hours at 800-443-9354.

"We want to make sure that everyone affected by the termination of Universal’s Medicare plans understands their rights and options," said Wayne Goodwin, North Carolina insurance commissioner. "SHIIP staff members stand ready to assist with any questions about Medicare coverage."

Beneficiaries can also call 1-800-MEDICARE for assistance. If calling Medicare directly, beneficiaries are instructed to tell the operator that they are a “Universal beneficiary” and that they need to discuss their new coverage.

In North Carolina, Universal policies were issued in 26 counties. The following is a list of the number of residents who were enrolled in a Universal plan by county.

Anson – 52
Buncombe – 273
Burke – 155
Cherokee – 36
Clay – 28
Currituck – 26
Dare – 12
Davidson – 44
Forsyth – 19
Guilford – 12
Jackson – 11
Jones – 87
Lenoir – 187
Macon – 22
Madison – 23
McDowell – 169
Mecklenburg – 95
Mitchell – 57
Moore – 304
Pamlico – 16
Pasquotank – 104
Rutherford – 585
Swain – 79
Transylvania – 42
Vance – 306
Yancey – 28

SHIIP is a division of the North Carolina Department of Insurance and can assist anyone with questions about Medicare Part D coverage information and enrollment. Trained SHIIP counselors are available for one-on-one counseling appointments in all 100 North Carolina counties. For more information, contact SHIIP at 1-800-443-9354 or visit www.ncshiip.com.

--NCDOI--