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MeritCare to stop accepting Unicare Medicare Health Insurance Plan first of year

In an unprecedented move, MeritCare Health System has decided to no longer provide services to seniors that have their health insurance coverage via Unicare, a commercial payer that is part of Medicare's advantage program.

This means that as of Jan. 1, patients that choose to continue to receive their health insurance coverage via Unicare will no longer be able to be seen at MeritCare.

Medicare advantage plans are health plan options that are part of the Medicare program. Seniors that join one of these plans generally receive all of their Medicare-covered health care through that plan. 

This is the first time that MeritCare has decided to end its relationship with a payer that is part of Medicare's advantage plan.

The decision comes as a result of issues that MeritCare has brought to Unicare's attention that have either not been addressed, or resolved to MeritCare's satisfaction.

MeritCare values all of its patients. If current (or potential) Medicare patients want to continue to receive care at MeritCare, they should review their options during Medicare's open enrollment period, which is Nov. 15-Dec. 31.

In addition, it's important for patients to be notified and informed, in order to ensure that their health insurance service is not interrupted.

While MeritCare wishes that it could help answer questions from patients, patients must contact the insurance agent who sold them their Unicare policy if they want to seek alternate options.

Patients who are interested in continuing coverage via Unicare also need to contact the insurance agent who sold them their policy to find a medical provider who does accept Unicare.