UnitedHealthcare partners with largest U.S. retirement community

UnitedHealthcare, the nation’s largest broker of Medicare Advantage plans, has forged an unusual partnership with The Villages, a central Florida retirement community with nearly 100,000 residents across three counties. The deal will create an exclusive health system for residents of The Villages, including a range of medical services and clinics on the premises, a system-wide electronic medical record. In return, those who wish to participate fully in the health system must use the Medicare Advantage plan provided by UnitedHealthcare or by Preferred Care Partners, one of UnitedHealthcare’s affiliates.

“As The Villages Health develops this innovative model of comprehensive, community-based care, we look forward to applying our expertise in designing benefits that are popular with consumers, as well as our diverse capabilities in data and analytics, wellness, prevention and member engagement,” Reed Tuckson, MD, chief of medical affairs at UnitedHealth Group, said in a company release. “Taken together, we believe our relationship with The Villages has the potential to make a meaningful impact on health outcomes for thousands of people by facilitating the delivery of high-quality, cost-effective care.”

UnitedHealthcare will build MedicareStores on The Villages sites, providing enrollment assistance, educational sessions on health topics and resources to help residents find in-network providers and pharmacies. The insurer also will have access to a ready-made population of new Medicare Advantage beneficiaries—nearly 3,700 residents of The Villages will turn 65 this year, according to the community’s statement.

The announcement follows on the heels of Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ proposal to cut the Medicare Advantage plan payments by 2.2 percent in 2014, which sent nervous waves through insurance companies on the stock market yesterday.

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