Nail health care is about to go mainstream.
The US Food and Drug Administration announced Thursday that insurers will be required to cover a wide range of new, lower-cost options to cover the tens of thousands of people who have signed up for Medicare Advantage plans.
Nail is one of those plans, which are the biggest source of growth in the Affordable Care Act’s marketplaces, as they cover more people and offer more coverage.
Centura Health, one of the nation’s largest insurer groups, said it will cover 1.3 million new enrollees in the first two months of 2017.
In a letter to Medicare Advantage customers, Centura said it plans to offer new lower- and moderate-cost plans with better coverage for enrollees with high health care needs.
Nail Health Care, which covers more than 3.3 percent of enrollees, will be the first group of insurers to offer lower-priced plans, Centurias Health said.
For those who choose to buy in Centuras first Medicare Advantage plan, they will get a choice of two options: 1) a plan with a deductible of $2,500 for individuals and $5,000 for families and students.
2) a single-premium plan that covers the entire enrollee’s deductible and premium for the entire plan year.
The new plan is expected to cover enrollees who earn $50,000 or less, according to Centura.
And for those who earn between $50 and $150,000, the plan will cover an additional $5 a month, Centurion Health said in a statement.
“This is an important step to help our patients pay for their care, which is a key focus of the Centuria Health plans,” Centurion Chief Financial Officer David Deacon said in the letter.
Aetana Health Insurance is expected be the second insurer to offer a lower-price Medicare Advantage option.
Its plan will be similar to Centurys.
New Medicare Advantage Plans, in Depth For years, Medicare Advantage had an option for people with medical conditions such as cancer or heart disease, but its cost was relatively high, said Elizabeth O’Connor, a professor of health policy and management at the University of North Carolina.
Because Medicare Advantage is such a high-risk plan, it was only open to people who were under 65 years old and had been diagnosed with cancer, according Toobin.
It also offered coverage to the sickest people, who were often older and poorer than people with a Medicare Advantage coverage.
“It was always going to be a risk,” O’Brien said.
“If people didn’t have health insurance before, they were going to have to pay for it now.”
Nailing down who gets the new plans could prove tricky.
Some of Centuris plans include an out-of-pocket limit of $6,000 and no co-payments.
But that limit was lifted last year, and the company has made the switch to a “low-cost” option with no deductible.
Some of the plans are also being offered to people with pre-existing conditions, and they have been criticized for being too expensive for many of them.
“If you don’t have insurance, you don,t have coverage,” said Dr. David Bierman, the president of the American College of Surgeons.
There is also a requirement that the plan cover “essential health benefits” such as mental health care and prescription drugs, though that could make it difficult for some people to find the right plan.
Most insurers are required to provide an initial three-month enrollment period and to cover three months of enrollee-to-enrollee medical care, with the rest of coverage following.
Insurers also must offer the option of switching to Medicare as an alternative to the high-deductible option, if they want to.
That’s because it has proven popular with younger enrollees and many who earn more than $100,000 a year, according O’Leary.
This change is expected not only to improve the coverage for people who want it, but also to save money for insurers, who will pay less per enrollee.
According to Centurion, the new Medicare Advantage costs average $2.95 per enrolee for a 12-month plan.
That’s a 10-percent savings, which Centuras Health said was driven by the cost-sharing.
Obamacare also included a set of subsidies to encourage people to enroll in Medicare, including $5 for a silver plan and $3 for a gold plan.
Obamacare’s subsidies were originally intended to help people afford to buy health insurance.
The new program is called the Community Rating Tax Credit.