Salud  

Health Net Launches Salud Medicare

Groundbreaking plan targeting seniors builds on company's longstanding commitment to California's Latino community

By Christina Sanchez Camino
Published on LatinoLA: October 22, 2009


Health Net Launches Salud Medicare


Health Net, Inc. launched Salud con Health Net Medicare Advantage HMO called Salud Medicare, the first-of-its-kind Medicare Advantage HMO plan targeting senior Latinos.

Building on Health Net's popular suite of Salud con Health Net products currently available to employers and individuals, this new, comprehensive medical and prescription drug plan provides Latino Medicare beneficiaries access to culturally sensitive health care services in the counties of Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino for the annual enrollment period, beginning November 15, 2009. The launch was announced at Health Net's East Los Angeles Community Solutions Center.

"The Latino community is the fastest-growing market in California," said Ana Andrade, Health Net, Inc. vice president of Latino Programs, who led the launch of the company's first Salud product in 2000. "With this plan, Latino seniors can count on affordability, cost predictability and quality care from a network of culturally sensitive health care providers who are Latino or are trained and experienced in providing medical care that recognizes the special needs of Latinos."

Salud Medicare has a $0 monthly premium and $0 doctor and hospital copayments. It also covers transportation services for medical-related appointments to the plan's targeted network of health care providers. Members also have the opportunity to improve their health and well-being through a program called "Silver and Fit," which encourages members to reap the health and wellness benefits of a fitness routine ÔÇô whether in the comfort of their own home or by enrolling for a no-charge membership at a local health club. For additional benefit information on Salud Medicare, visit http://www.abetterdecision.com/.

Health Net's Salud Medicare plan helps expand the health care coverage options needed by the Latino market. Research conducted in 2006 by Hispanics and the Future of America, Committee on Population indicates that elderly Latinos ÔÇô with or without health insurance ÔÇô are less likely to see a physician and use preventive services provided by medical professionals. Health Net believes cultural and language gaps in health care settings contribute to this disparity and developed its caregiver network to address these challenges.

According to DTC Perspectives, a market research report published in September 2009, nearly half of Latino seniors say they face language barriers because they speak little or no English. For those individuals, this makes navigating the already-complex health care system an even more daunting challenge. Given the depth of many health care topics, in-language communication makes for better medical decisions by physicians, patients and their families.

David Hayes-Bautista, Ph.D., a national expert on Latino health care, said Health Net's Salud Medicare is a step in the right direction. "While Latino seniors tend to see doctors and use hospitals less often than their non-Latino peers, it is important that they are comfortable in accessing the health care system when they need to and are encouraged to seek preventive care," said Hayes-Bautisita. "Health Net selected physician and other caregivers for its provider network who bridge the cultural and language gaps that can create barriers for Latino patients."

According to the latest U.S. Census figures, Latino seniors, ages 65 and older, currently total 2.3 million and make up 6.5 percent of the U.S. elderly population. Projections have this group growing to 15 million by the year 2050, making up 17.5 percent of the U.S. elderly population. Not only will Latinos make up a large percentage of the elderly population in the future, but several industry studies also indicate they are expected to live longer than seniors of other ethnic backgrounds.
According to the latest Neilsen Universe estimates for the Los Angeles DMA, which covers Ventura, Los Angeles, San Bernardino and Orange counties, Latino seniors over age 50 make up 26 percent of the area's population.

Health Net, Inc. is among the nation's largest publicly traded managed health care companies. Its mission is to help people be healthy, secure and comfortable. The company's health plans and government contracts subsidiaries provide health benefits to approximately 6.7 million individuals across the country through group, individual, Medicare, Medicaid and TRICARE and Veterans Affairs programs. Health Net's behavioral health subsidiary, MHN, provides mental health benefits to approximately 6.6 million individuals in all 50 states. The company's subsidiaries also offer managed health care products related to prescription drugs, and offer managed health care product coordination for multi-region employers and administrative services for medical groups and self-funded benefits programs.

For more information on Health Net, Inc., please visit the company's Web site at www.healthnet.com .

About Christina Sanchez Camino:
Christina is Senior Partners for Milagro Communications Group
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