HCFA gets a new name

HCFA gets a new name

BY Preeti Vasishtha

GCN Staff

JUNE 15—The Health Care Financing Administration, which runs Medicare and Medicaid programs, has been renamed the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

The change is one of a series of reforms planned to strengthen HCFA services, said Tommy Thompson, secretary of the Health and Human Services Department.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services will be organized in three units:

  • The Center for Beneficiary Choices will provide information about Medicare, as well as Medigap and Medicare Select insurance plans.
  • The Center for Medicare Management will develop payment policies for fee-for-service care and manage the Medicare fee-for-service contractors.
  • The Center for Medicaid and State Operations will oversee state-administered programs, including Medicaid and the State Children's Health Insurance Program.

The centers will launch a $35 million national advertising campaign this fall to inform beneficiaries about the expanded services.

By Oct. 1, a Web-based decision tool will be ready to help users narrow down health plan choices and do direct out-of-pocket cost comparisons of health insurance options. Also, the centers will have customer service representatives be available 24 hours a day after Oct. 1 at 800-633-4277 to answer beneficiaries' questions.

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