UnitedHealthcare, National Council on Aging Launch Medicare Education Initiative

Community events, public service information campaign and a national survey to help baby boomers, older adults learn more about their health-care options

MINNETONKA, Minn., Aug. 1, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- During this first year of historic growth in the Medicare population as baby boomers begin turning 65, UnitedHealthcare and the National Council on Aging (NCOA) are partnering to help Medicare beneficiaries, their caregivers and baby boomers learn more about their health-care options now and in the years ahead.

(Logo:  http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20100615/NCOALOGO )

Recent surveys suggest that seniors and other beneficiaries have trouble understanding the Medicare program, including changes from health reform and how they will plan for and manage their health-care as they age. With the oldest baby boomers becoming eligible for Medicare this year at a rate of 10,000 a day, the need for clear, easy-to-understand information about the program and how it works will increase dramatically.

Throughout the summer and early fall, UnitedHealthcare and NCOA will partner to help seniors and their caregivers better understand Medicare. Activities will include:

  • Grassroots initiatives, such as public service announcements and local-market events at senior community centers, to educate seniors and their families about the importance of researching Medicare options and finding the right plan for them;
  • An independent survey of adults aged 60+ to gauge their understanding of the Medicare program;
  • A panel discussion in Washington, D.C., to release the survey findings, discuss their implications for Medicare education, and examine the key issues facing beneficiaries today as well as how baby boomers will interact with Medicare in the years ahead.

"Our goal is to help improve the health and well-being of America's older adults by empowering them to ask the right questions and know their options," said Tom Paul, CEO, UnitedHealthcare Medicare & Retirement. "Consumers who understand Medicare are more prepared to make informed health-care decisions. Better decisions contribute to better health outcomes."

"Increasing access to benefits and resources is at the core of our mission," said Jim Firman, president and CEO, NCOA. "Collaboration among various stakeholders is the most effective way to identify solutions. By partnering with UnitedHealthcare, we hope to provide Medicare beneficiaries with important information to help them find the support they need to live secure lives."

This campaign will help NCOA and UnitedHealthcare expand the reach and impact of their existing Medicare education efforts. In 2010, NCOA launched "Straight Talk for Seniors," a national education campaign to help seniors understand the health reform law and how it will affect them and their Medicare coverage. In 1996, UnitedHealthcare began distributing its award-winning Medicare Made Clear educational materials to Medicare beneficiaries. Since then, the campaign has become more robust with the addition of a website and other user-friendly tools that explain how Medicare works in simple, easy-to-understand language.  

More information is available at www.NCOA.org/Medicare and www.MedicareMadeClear.com.

About UnitedHealthcare

UnitedHealthcare is dedicated to helping people nationwide live healthier lives by simplifying the health-care experience, meeting consumer health and wellness needs, and sustaining trusted relationships with care providers. The company offers the full spectrum of health benefit programs for individuals, employers and Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries, and contracts directly with more than 650,000 physicians and care professionals and 5,000 hospitals nationwide. UnitedHealthcare serves more than 38 million people and is one of the businesses of UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH), a diversified Fortune 50 health and well-being company.

About NCOA  

The National Council on Aging is a nonprofit service and advocacy organization headquartered in Washington, D.C. NCOA's mission is to improve the lives of millions of older adults, especially those who are vulnerable and disadvantaged. NCOA is a national voice for older Americans and the community organizations that serve them. It brings together nonprofit organizations, businesses, and government to develop creative solutions that improve the lives of all older adults. NCOA works with thousands of organizations across the country to help seniors find jobs and benefits, improve their health, live independently, and remain active in their communities. www.NCOA.org, www.facebook.com/NCOAging, www.twitter.com/NCOAging

SOURCE National Council on Aging