Yakima hospital reverses decision on Medicare Advantage Plan

YAKIMA, Wash. (AP) — A Yakima hospital has reversed its decision to require Medicare patients to use a Medicare plan administered by a private insurance company.

The Yakima Herald-Republic reports Virginia Mason Memorial had sent letters to patients last week, saying its primary care providers would only serve Medicare patients using Medicare Advantage Plans by January 2020.

The hospital changed course this week, saying the requirement was the wrong tactic.

CEO Russ Myers says requiring Medicare patients to switch to advantage plans would be difficult for many. About 12,000 Virginia Mason primary care patients are on Medicare, but only few thousand are on advantage plans.

Myers says he would not have made the prior decision if he had “known about those complexities.”

The hospital is sending out a new letter to patients this week.