Local Medicare plan receives elite 5-Star national ranking

Viva Medicare first and only Alabama-based plan to receive distinction from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

Enrollment in 2022 Medicare plans starts Oct. 15 

Media contact: Tony Ceasar, 205-558-7558

VIVAStreamVIVA MEDICARE first and only Alabama-based plan to receive distinction from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Enrollment in 2022 Medicare plans starts Oct. 15.Viva Medicare has been named an overall 5-out-of-5-Stars Medicare Advantage (MA) plan by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, the first and only Alabama-based plan to achieve this exceptional distinction. The local plan now joins an elite group of Medicare plans across the nation.

Known for its commitment to delivering quality care with a personal touch, the health insurer earned the top ranking based on its excellent performance on 40 measures across key areas, such as preventive screenings and tests, chronic condition management, provider responsiveness and care, member complaints/disenrollments, and customer service. 

Viva Health, which is part of the renowned University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) Health System, has served Alabama for more than 25 years and has a member base that extends far beyond its home city. The company’s Medicare Advantage plans are offered in 35 Alabama counties with a network of 70 hospitals, more than 10,000 doctors and other providers, and worldwide emergency coverage.

“This distinction is a tremendous accomplishment for Viva Health, but it is equally important to note this is a win for our state,” said Will Ferniany, UAB Health System chief executive officer and chairman of the Viva Health board of directors. “Seniors and individuals with disabilities in Alabama deserve access to the highest-quality health care. Viva Medicare’s plans go beyond traditional Medicare to offer many extra benefits and unparalleled, easy-to-access customer service. This elite ranking conveys the commitment and dedication that Viva Medicare shows its members.”  

Medicare’s annual enrollment period begins Friday, and recipients have until Dec. 7 to make their health plan choices for 2022.

However, Viva Medicare’s 5-Star rating means that, for the first time, Alabamians have access to the 5-Star special enrollment period to join a standard Medicare Advantage plan. This allows Medicare beneficiaries to switch from their current Medicare plan to a Medicare plan with a 5-Star rating. This 

special enrollment period can be used once between Dec. 8, 2021, and Nov. 30, 2022, extending beneficiaries’ options to enroll in a plan beyond Medicare’s standard, limited enrollment timeframes. 

“Understanding Medicare coverage is complex, and we specialize in supporting individuals through the selection process and after,” said Dr. Tara Bryant, Viva Health’s chief medical officer. “This 5-Star distinction is the result of Viva Medicare’s outstanding support of our members and health care providers that only a local health plan can offer. Our focus centers on the well-being of our members. Beyond a number, we see each member as our neighbor who deserves only the very best, and that is exactly what we aim to deliver.” 

Viva Medicare offers plans starting at a $0 monthly plan premium and with or without prescription drug coverage. All Viva Medicare plans include perks such as $0 primary care visits, dental, vision and hearing aid benefits, and a quarterly allowance to purchase drug store items with free, two-day shipping. Every Viva Medicare plan gives members access to local gyms and at-home fitness programs, a 24/7 nurse help line, and peace of mind with a yearly cap on out-of-pocket medical costs. Some Viva Medicare plans even include a monthly allowance to buy food and produce, payment of up to $50 a month of the Medicare Part B premium, and transportation. Viva Medicare also operates community-based, retail locations where members can walk in to have questions answered, attend events or simply chat with Viva Health staff. 

Trust and reliability are key values at Viva Medicare, and this difference is apparent to members like Jack Tester from Hoover. 

“I would recommend Viva Medicare to anyone,” Tester said. “My wife is on it. I’m on it. They are absolutely, 100 percent 5-Star-rated.” 

Viva Medicare is taking calls at 888-830-8482 (toll-free) seven days a week, 8 a.m.–8 p.m. (April 1–Sept. 30: Monday–Friday, 8 a.m.–8 p.m.). TTY users call 711. Individuals may enroll over the phone, online at www.VivaHealth.com/Medicare/Enroll or at a Viva Health Café or request an individual appointment with an agent.   

For more information about the Medicare Star Rating Program and the 5-Star special enrollment period, visit https://www.medicare.gov/sign-up-change-plans/when-can-i-join-a-health-or-drug-plan/5-star-special-enrollment-period.