New West Connect Medicare Supplement Plans
New West Health Services will cease operations and discontinue doing business as a health insurer in Montana. As a result, all New West Medicare Supplement (Medigap) plans will be terminated as of January 31, 2017. You will still have New West Medicare Supplement coverage through January 31, 2017. Claims for services through that date may be submitted up to 12 months from the date of service and New West will continue to process claims.
How does this closure affect your Medicare Coverage?
Your original Medicare Coverage (Parts A and B) will continue. Any Part D prescription drug coverage you may have will not be impacted. You must transition your Medicare Supplement coverage to another company or your Medicare Supplement coverage will end on January 31, 2017.
Since you are a valued New West member, we would like to make this transition as easy as possible for you. It is important that you take action before January 15, 2017 to avoid a gap in coverage.
What do you need to do to continue your Medicare Supplement coverage?
Because you are losing coverage with New West Health Services, you have a guaranteed issue right to buy another Medicare Supplement policy. Your guaranteed issue period begins on the date you receive this notice and will last for 63 calendar days after your coverage with New West Health Services ends (April 4, 2017). Keep a copy of this letter that says your coverage is ending. You will need to show this letter to your new insurer to establish your right to a guaranteed enrollment in a new plan without underwriting.
- Enroll in a new Medicare Supplement during your enrollment opportunity.
- To avoid a gap in coverage, you must enroll in a new Medicare Supplement plan by January 15, 2017. Your open enrollment opportunity will continue for 63 days after your existing Medicare Supplement coverage ends on January 31, 2017.
- Enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan during the Annual Enrollment period.
- The Medicare Annual Enrollment period is October 15, 2016 through December 7, 2016.
- Your new Medicare Advantage plan will be effective January 1, 2017.
Who can help you with this transition?
- Your local insurance agent
- The Montana State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP)
Call 1-800-551-3191 for assistance in finding new Medicare coverage. They can help you identify the best options to meet your healthcare needs.
The New West Customer Service department at 1-888-873-8049 (TTY 711) 8:00am to 8:00pm daily.
You’ll find general information about your Medicare options, as well as premium rates for Medicare Supplement products available for sale in Montana at the Insurance Commissioner’s website at http://csimt.gov/your-insurance/medicare/. The federal website is www.medicare.gov.
Your right to obtain another Medicare Supplement product is “guaranteed.” You cannot be rejected or “rated up.”
Frequently Asked Questions
Is New West going out of business?
New West will continue to process claims through 2017 and is completing the necessary steps to wind down the company.
Why is this happening?
With the increased level of complexity in this industry and the new challenges with issues that affect our ability to break even, we are not able to make this program financially successful.
Why didn’t you notify members sooner?
We attempted to transfer our Medicare Supplements to another insurance carrier. Unfortunately, we were not able to do that so it is necessary to cancel our Supplement policies along with our Medicare Advantage policies. We are providing a 90-day notice of cancellation to all Medicare Supplement members.
I have ongoing health issues, can I still enroll in a Supplement with another insurance carrier?
Since your coverage is being terminated by New West, you will have a guaranteed issue period to select a Medicare Supplement with a different company. You will need to keep a copy of the letter from New West saying your coverage is ending.
When can I start Medicare Supplement coverage with another insurance carrier?
You can enroll in another Supplement plan as soon as you receive your termination letter from New West. The guarantee issue period will last an additional 63 calendar days after coverage with New West ends.
Will my claims still be paid?
New West will continue to process claims through 2017, for 2016 dates of service. Providers have 365 days from the date of service to submit claims.
My policy states that my coverage is in effect until my next renewal date.
Section 6. of your policy states “Except as authorized by the Montana Commissioner of Securities and Insurance, New West Health Services may not cancel or non-renew this policy” Since New West is winding down, we worked with the Commissioner’s office for approval to term our Medicare Supplements as of January 31, 2017.