Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Shirlee Zerkel: Concerns about a letter from Aetna Medicare

From Shirlee Zerkel, January 25, 2010
The following letter to Mr. Nickell asks about my concerns about the phone survey from Aetna. But I see that response from Mr. Nickell's computer that he is out of town till early in Feb. But in the meantime we are to call Marsha Strong at 614-227-2980 if we have concerns.
From Shirlee Zerkel, January 25, 2010
Subject: Concerns about a letter from Aetna Medicare
Dear Mr. Nickell:
I am one of the STRS retirees who was moved into the Aetna Medicare Program. On Saturday, Jan. 23, I received a letter form Aetna stating: "The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the federal agency that administers the Medicare program, requires Medicare Advantage Plans to conduct a health assessment survey for all new Medicare enrollees in a timely manner." This was not to be a written survey. Aetna would call in one to two weeks. Three other STRS retirees here in Lima did not get the letter; they just got the call. Why the difference in method since we are all STRS retirees? Two things bothered me about the contents of this letter.
(1) the statement that the federal Medicare program required it and (2) The questions concern personal health issues and also they want the name, phone and address of my doctor. Does your department at STRS know anything about this survey and do we have to answer such questions as 1.How many nights have you stayed in the hospital in the last 12 months?
2. Do you take more than six medicines a day and this includes, prescription, over the counter, vitamins, eye drops and skin patches?
3 .At the time, are you receiving medical treatment for any of the following conditions: breathing problems, diabetes, heart problems, high blood pressure, kidney problems, cancer, stroke. I called Medicare today and was able to speak with 3 associates at the Virginia office. They all stated that Medicare does not require such health assessment survey's. Medicare does require the Advantage plans to cover similar benefits that the traditional plan covers. If they agree to that and fulfill that request then Medicare works with them. This was what I was told by two of the Medicare associates. Please advise as soon as possible as Aetna can call anytime.
Thank you for looking into this concern.
Greg Nickell responded:
Dear Ms. Zerkle:
I have asked another staff person to investigate your questions as I am attending to my ill father in Florida. I will get back to you tomorrow.
Larry KehresMount Union Collge
Division III
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