New Medicare coverage options launched in the Huntsville market

HUNTSVILLE, Ala., Oct. 15, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — As part of their partnership announced earlier this year to join forces to improve…

HUNTSVILLE, Ala., Oct. 15, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — As part of their partnership announced earlier this year to join forces to improve health care in Alabama, Huntsville Hospital Health System and the UAB Health System (UABHS) are introducing new health insurance options for seniors and others with Medicare in North Alabama.  

Starting in 2021 through VIVA HEALTH, a sister company of UABHS, the two organizations are offering a new Medicare Advantage product that will put patients, doctors, hospitals, and the patients’ insurance company all on the same team, with the shared goal of better health for patients.

VIVA MEDICARE is introducing three Medicare Advantage plans cobranded with Huntsville Hospital in the Huntsville area next year.  The Huntsville Hospital Health System’s facilities and clinics and the affiliated North Alabama Managed Care, Inc. (NAMCI) network of physicians comprise the core network for the plans, which offer lower out-of-pocket costs and close coordination of members’ health care needs.  The relationship among the Huntsville Hospital Health System, the physicians and VIVA MEDICARE makes the new plan choices unique in the Huntsville area.

«We are excited about the collaboration between our clinical staff and VIVA’s,» said Dr. Robert Chappell, Jr., Huntsville Hospital’s Chief Medical and Quality Officer.  «As we meet regularly to review data, our focus will be quality, ensuring patients get the care and services they need, whether they are in the hospital, at their doctors’ offices or at an outpatient clinic. If the patients are not seeking care when they should, such as those with chronic conditions, VIVA will help us close those gaps and keep people healthy.» 

Medicare recipients have from Oct. 15 until December 7 to make their health plan choices for 2021 under Medicare’s annual open enrollment period.

VIVA MEDICARE will be offering Medicare Advantage plans in Limestone, Madison, and Morgan Counties for the first time.  To help support the members who will be joining these plans, VIVA HEALTH is opening a customer service center location near Huntsville Hospital’s main campus where prospective members can learn about the Huntsville Hospital-VIVA MEDICARE choices available to them and existing members can attend health-related events and seek answers if they have questions about their coverage.  All of the cobranded VIVA MEDICARE 2021 plan choices in the Huntsville market offer primary care visits at a $0 copay, Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage, and extra benefits beyond what traditional Medicare offers including dental care, eyewear, over-the-counter items, and access to local gyms and at-home fitness programs through the Silver&Fit® Healthy Aging and Exercise Program.  

For 2021, VIVA MEDICARE scored 4.5 out of 5 stars on its Medicare quality performance based on 46 different quality measures that illustrate everything from customer service to how well the health insurance company helps its members stay healthy. 

«We are true partners in our members’ health,» said Dr. Tara Bryant, VIVA HEALTH’s Chief Medical Officer.  «We do so much more than make sure members have coverage when they get sick or have an accident.  We work to keep them healthy and help them live their best lives.  We remind our members to get their flu shots, mammograms and other preventive services; we make sure those with chronic conditions stay on their medicines; and overall we will help our members navigate a complex health care system through our close collaboration with NAMCI and the Huntsville Hospital Health System.»

VIVA MEDICARE is one of only two Medicare Advantage companies based in Alabama and has earned one of the highest customer satisfaction survey scores of any Medicare Advantage plan in the state for the past 11 years, according to the Medicare & You handbook.

As part of its customer service, VIVA HEALTH now has eight retail locations across Alabama, including the new location in Huntsville that will open to the public in late 2020.  These walk-in sites are far more than sales locations – they are resources to VIVA HEALTH members throughout the year.

Medicare’s annual open enrollment period, which closes Dec. 7, is the primary opportunity Medicare recipients have each year to choose a new health plan — either switching between traditional Medicare and a private Medicare Advantage plan, changing from one Medicare Advantage plan to another, or adding or changing prescription drug coverage.

Medicare Advantage plans like VIVA MEDICARE cover all the benefits of traditional Medicare, typically offer additional benefits, and usually include prescription drug coverage.  Unlike traditional Medicare, Medicare Advantage plans cap the amount of yearly out-of-pocket costs members pay for medical care, and most charge set copays for doctors’ visits and hospital stays. 

In addition to offering VIVA MEDICARE plans customized to the Huntsville market, other aspects of the partnership between Huntsville Hospital and UAB include looking for opportunities that focus on population health, value-based care and rural health care and exploring areas to improve operational performance and efficiencies.


Founded in 1995, VIVA HEALTH has a contract with the federal government to offer Medicare Advantage plans in 34 counties in Alabama and is licensed by the state to offer employer-sponsored coverage in 66 counties.  Part of the UAB Health System, VIVA HEALTH has more than 49,000 VIVA MEDICARE members and provides or administers health benefits to more than 59,000 members in employer group health plans.  VIVA HEALTH is headquartered in Birmingham, and customer service questions are answered by employees in Alabama. 

About Huntsville Hospital Health System:

Huntsville Hospital has operated as a community-owned hospital since 1895.  Today, the hospital is the second largest facility in the state and the centerpiece of a multi-hospital health system across North Alabama, serving as the regional referral and trauma center for more than a million residents of the Tennessee Valley.  Huntsville Hospital Health System operates hospitals in Huntsville, Madison, Athens, Decatur, BoazAlbertville, GuntersvilleArab, Sheffield, and Red Bay.  The Huntsville Hospital Health System includes more than 2,000 licensed beds for patient care and employs more than 15,000 persons.


Burr Ingram (256-265-8317) for Huntsville Hospital Health System

Tony Ceasar (205-558-7558) for an interview with a VIVA MEDICARE representative


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