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UnitedHealthcare – the health benefits segment of UnitedHealth Group Inc. (UNH - Analyst Report) – has come out with its Medicare portfolio for 2013. It has also disclosed a low-cost Part-D Plan as well as its preferred pharmacy network, which will enable its medicare consumers to achieve greater cost benefits.

The company offers its medicare plans under the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) brand – the most trusted brand in America.
  
UnitedHealth has devised its plan in such a way that it attracts baby boomers who have already became eligible for medicare last year, and also provide better service to its current 49 million beneficiaries. The company’s Medicare products are also planned to offer stability, value and reliability to its more than 10 million plan participants.
 
Current medicare beneficiaries have the option to make changes to their current health plans during the Open Enrollment Period, which will start from October 15, 2012.   
 
UnitedHealthcare will launch the AARP MedicareRx Saver Plus (PDP) plan. The new plan with $15 premium will be the lowest lowest-cost Part D prescription drug plan and will enable consumers to save on both their monthly premium as well as on their prescription copays.
 
UnitedHealth’s vast preferred pharmacy network is spread around 14,600 retail locations across the country and includes retailers such as Walgreen Co. (WAG - Analyst Report), The Kroger Co. (KR - Analyst Report), Target Corp. (TGT - Analyst Report), Safeway Inc.(SWY - Analyst Report), Publix, Stop & Shop, Hy-Vee, H-E-B, Hannaford, Wegmans, Giant, Duane Reade, Fred Meyer, Smith’s, Fry’s, Vons, Sweetbay and many others, which are also expected to provide cost-savings opportunities to members of its stand-alone Part D plans in 2013.
 
All the three classes of enrollees – Enhanced, Preferred and Saver Plus under the AARP MedicareRx Part D plans will have the opportunity to get discounts on their copays if they buy medicines from any of the retail shop under the company’s preferred pharmacy network.  
 
Apart from the preferred pharmacy network the company will continue to offer broad coverage with more than 65,000 network pharmacies in 2013. The company also provides its members the service of receiving medicines by mails wherein they can receive medicines by post within 90 days for generic drugs for $0 copay if purchased from UnitedHealthcare’s preferred mail-service pharmacy – OptumRx.
 
Regarding UnitedHealth’s Medicare Advantage plans a product in which it holds a place, it will offer the product in 47 states and the District of Columbia in 2013. In the areas where the company will provide its standard Medicare Advantage plans, more than 92% of Medicare-eligible individuals will have access to a UnitedHealthcare plan with monthly premium not more than the regular Medicare plan. 
 
In spite of carrying a the same premium as that of a regular medicare plan, the Medicare Advantage plan members will receive greater benefits and services such as coverage of gym memberships, dental and vision care, and custom-programmed hearing devices.
 
Moreover, Medicare Advantage plan members can also save their money by reducing out of pocket costs on buying drugs if they have bought drug coverage and buy medicines at designated pharmacies.   
 
UnitedHealth’s pharmacy saver plan will also be expanded to cover double the existing locations, enabling a greater number of Medicare advantage enrollees to save their costs. 
 
UnitedHealth will also provide more facilities via Care Improvement Plus plans and Preferred Care Medicare Advantage plan and AARP Medicare Supplement plans in 2013. 
 
With the Open Enrollment Period starting soon, other players like Aetna Inc. (AET - Analyst Report), Humana Inc. (HUM - Analyst Report) will also disclose their Medicare plans.    

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