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AmeriHealth Caritas to Offer Medicare Advantage Special Needs, Medicare Advantage with Prescription Drug Coverage Plans in District of Columbia and Louisiana

PHILADELPHIA, Oct. 9, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The AmeriHealth Caritas Family of Companies, a national leader in Medicaid managed care and other health care solutions for those most in need, announced today that it will offer a Medicare Advantage Special Needs Plan (D-SNP) to dual eligible beneficiaries, as well as a Medicare Advantage Plan with Prescription Drug Coverage (MAPD) to eligible Medicare beneficiaries in the District of Columbia and select parishes in Louisiana. AmeriHealth Caritas is a majority-owned subsidiary of Independence Blue Cross; Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan holds a minority interest.

AmeriHealth Caritas VIP Plans, the company's Medicare division, will enroll dual-eligibles throughout the District of Columbia, as well as those in Louisiana's Jefferson, Orleans and Saint John the Baptist Parishes, in its local AmeriHealth VIP Care D-SNP plans that have been approved by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. In addition, eligible Medicare beneficiaries in the District, and those in Louisiana's East Baton Rouge, East Feliciana, Iberville, Jefferson, Livingston, Orleans, Pointe Coupee, Saint Charles, Saint Helena, Saint James, Saint John the Baptist and West Baton Rouge Parishes will be able to sign up for its new MAPD product, AmeriHealth VIP Select, under the local plans that will operate in each of these regions.

Both plans will begin accepting enrollment applications on Tuesday, October 15, with services to begin on January 1, 2014.

"As a national leader in Medicaid managed care, offering D-SNPs and MAPDs in our Medicaid markets is a natural extension of our business and our mission to help people get care, stay well and build healthy communities," said John Baackes, president of AmeriHealth Caritas VIP Plans. "We look forward to helping even more Washingtonians and Louisianans get care that is suited to their unique health needs."

D-SNPs are Medicare Advantage plans for dual-eligibles or individuals whose combination of income, health status and age makes them eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid. There are approximately nine million dual-eligibles in the United States. About $350 billion is spent each year on health care for this population, which tends to experience significant health disparities, as well as health care that is often fragmented and poorly coordinated.

AmeriHealth Caritas already offers D-SNPs to dual eligibles in select counties in Pennsylvania and South Carolina. It also operates LaCare (soon to become AmeriHealth Caritas Louisiana), a Medicaid managed care plan that serves almost 145,000 Louisiana Medicaid recipients, as well as AmeriHealth District of Columbia, which serves more than 100,000 Washingtonians.

"We have been impressed with AmeriHealth Caritas' work in Medicaid managed care nationally and now in the District, as well," said Jacqueline D. Bowens, chief executive officer of the District of Columbia Primary Care Association. "The arrival of AmeriHealth VIP Care and AmeriHealth VIP Select is wonderful news for our city."

"LaCare has done many things to improve health outcomes in the state. Our Medicare population can also benefit greatly from AmeriHealth Caritas' approach to health care," said Barbara O'Bear, mayor pro tem of White Castle, in Louisiana's Iberville Parish. "We are pleased that AmeriHealth Caritas will now offer Louisianans another option to access quality care."

About AmeriHealth Caritas Family of Companies

AmeriHealth Caritas is one of the nation's leaders in health care solutions for those most in need. AmeriHealth Caritas operates in 15 states and the District of Columbia, and serves more than 4.8 million Medicaid, Medicare and CHIP members through its integrated managed care products, pharmaceutical benefit management services, behavioral health services and other administrative services. Headquartered in Philadelphia, AmeriHealth Caritas is a mission-driven company with 30 years of experience serving low-income and chronically ill populations. For more information, visit www.amerihealthcaritas.com.

CONTACT: Michelle Davidson Tel: 215-863-6364 mdavidson@amerihealthcaritas.com

Source: Amerihealth Mercy Family