WASHINGTON--Health plans may now apply for certification as
Medicare+Choice plans. The Department of Health and Human Services
recently released regulations that outline the standards that health
plans and organizations must meet to become part of the new program.
Medicare+Choice take effect in January 1999. Its aim is to provide
beneficiaries an even wider choice of health care providers than now
available through fee-for-service Medicare and HMOs. The plan opens
Medicare to preferred provider organizations, preferred sponsor
organizations, private fee-for-service plans, and a medical savings
account demonstration project.