One of the perceived disadvantages of being a member of a Medicare Advantage plan is being locked into a network without the flexibility to receive care when you travel.
Although there are plans that lack this flexibility such as some Medicare HMO plans, United Healthcare offers a way to benefit from lower in-network costs and have the flexibility to receive medical care when you are away from home.
The United Healthcare Passport program is available through Medicare Advantage plans such as AARP MedicareComplete. The program is available through plans with all network types, including; PPO, HMO and HMO-POS plans.
The plan does have limits and use must follow some simple guidelines to take advantage of the plan. As a benefit, it does offer a degree of freedom not available from all Advantage plans in the marketplace.
This benefit should not be confused with getting Medicare coverage outside of the United States. World wide emergency coverage is universal among Advantage plans.
Is a United Healthcare plan your best option? You can compare all Medicare plans online or to speak with a licensed agent call ehealthInsurance, a leading provider of Medicare plan choice toll-free at 888-310-0376.
How to use the United Healthcare Passport Program
Prior to travel you should call United Healthcare customer service at the number listed on your membership card. You will need to have the zip code for your destination. Making this call will activate your benefit and allow customer service to help you find in-network providers.
Benefit activation is required because you are limited to nine months away from home. This works well for people who may spend part of the year at a vacation home. Once you return home, call customer service so they can deactivate the Passport benefit.
In addition to being limited to nine months, there is a limit to where the benefit can be used. There are 15 States and the District of Columbia where you cannot use the 2012 United Healthcare Passport Program. Additionally, there are many Counties in States where it is valid that are exempt from the program.
It’s important that you study your Medicare Advantage Enrollment kit or Summary of Benefits carefully so you won’t be disappointed to learn that your chosen destination is not included.
For complete program details you should take the time to read the Summary of Benefits for this and all plan details.
Consider the plan in it’s entirety before you enroll
Although the Passport Program is an attractive benefit, it’s not the main reason why you would choose a Medicare Advantage plan from United Healthcare.
When you are comparing Medicare Advantage plans there are many things to consider. Here is the short list of items to review:
- Summary of Benefits
- Provider Directory
- Part D Formulary
If you find after reviewing these documents that the plan is suitable, you should compare it to other plans to be certain you are choosing the best Advantage plan for your needs and budget. Once you shop several plans, you may find that the United Healthcare Passport Program tips the scales.