Is Kaiser Senior Advantage Really the Best for You?

Kaiser Permanente claims its "Senior Advantage" program is the best option for Medicare beneficiaries in Northern California. Before you sign, consider these facts:

  • Reduced Home Health Care.

    Kaiser is cutting visits by licensed home health professionals to as few as 10 for Senior Advantage enrollees, and reducing its home-care nursing staff by 34%. Medicare-eligible people who have not converted do not face these limited visits and continue to receive 100% coverage of approved services. These cuts come while Kaiser is limiting hospital stays and admissions.

  • Termination of Coverage if Out of Kaiser Area for 90 Days.

    If you travel frequently or spend long periods of time with your family away from home beware. Kaiser Senior Advantage, like other HMO plans, terminates coverage if you are away for 90 consecutive days.

  • Cuts in Prescription Medications.

    If you need newer, experimental or specialized medication, beware. Kaiser recently cut 1,600 medications available to Kaiser patients in favor of cheaper generics. Kaiser also requires a higher co-payment on prescriptions than virtually all other Medicare HMOs.

  • Higher Co-Pays for Mental Health Visits and Vision Care.

    Kaiser will cost you more in co-payments than many other Medicare HMO plans for Outpatient Mental Health Visits, Vision Care, and unlike other plans offers no hearing aid exams.

  • Kaiser Hospitals and Clinics are Restricting Patient Services.

    Kaiser is eroding patient care standards with:

    Hospital closures

    Decreases and delays in phone advice

    Tighter limits on referrals to specialists and diagnostic tests

    Limits in preventive care such as mamograms and prostate cancer screening

    Cuts in professional staff, including a 14% cut in RN positions the past three years

    Replacements of RNs and other licensed staff by less qualified employees

    If you choose Senior Advantage you may not have access to other facilities or services as Kaiser reduces care options. Medicare does not restrict your access to a variety of providers. Have all the facts at hand. Don't be pressured by Kaiser to choose Senior Advantage.