CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Negotiations between Humana Inc. and Charleston Area Medical Center about whether to provide benefits to Medicare Advantage recipients are apparently continuing.
However, if an agreement is not reached before the "open-enrollment period" ends next Friday, senior citizens who purchased Medicare Advantage health-plan benefits through Humana will not be able to get reimbursed for health care they receive at CAMC or from physicians at the hospital.
"To my knowledge there are not a lot of talks going on," CAMC spokesman Dale Witte said Wednesday. "There is nothing new going on, nothing new to report.
"I really don't anticipate anything. All the decisions have been made for next year."
Talks between Humana and CAMC broke down in September.
Jeff Blunt, a spokesman for Humana, based in Louisville, Ky., said last week that there was no "breaking news" to report.
However, talks between Humana and CAMC apparently have continued.
On Thursday, Blunt said, "There is nothing that I can share. We are still talking. We remain optimistic. Hopefully, I will have more news for you soon."
When hospitals are "outside" the network of an insurance company like Humana, patients covered by Medicare Advantage plans must pay the bills themselves for any care received at those hospitals.
Seniors eligible for Medicare can simply enroll in the government program or choose to enroll in private Medicare Advantage plans, which often provide additional benefits.
When Medicare recipients enroll in private plans, the government transfers federal money to those plans, plus an additional 17 percent.