Albert Lea Healthcare Coalition’s call to action on medicare

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(ABC 6 News) – The grassroots effort to fights for healthcare in Albert Lea began years ago after Mayo Clinic made a big announcement to move certain services to Austin.

The Albert Lea Healthcare Coalition meeting was held Tuesday night to inform local senior citizens about the current status of medicare advantage plans and choices for in-network services in Southeastern Minnesota.

Addressed at the meeting was Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) Medicare Advantage members from Burnsville can access the MercyOne Clinic in Albert Lea in-network, but Albert Lea members cannot. This excludes providers other than Mayo Clinic in the Southeastern Minnesota network.

Those in attendance got instructions to help change the issue that they have right now.

"About Blue Cross (Blue Shield) having a medicare advantage program that cannot include at this time under contract our MercyOne center in Albert Lea. So, they’ll have kind of marching orders think of it that way, of who they can contact in the state government, at Blue Cross, to say we need this to change," Brad Arends, President of the Albert Lea Healthcare Coalition, said.

Seniors can consult with their insurance agent to consider switching from their BCBS Medicare Advantage plan to original Medicare or to providers such as UCare or Medica.

The coalition encourages seniors to contact BCBS Minnesota along with the Attorney General’s office and other state lawmakers to include MercyOne Clinic in its Medicare Advantage network in Freeborn County.

To find out how to contact those mentioned, click here.