KNOXVILLE, TN (WLAF) Tennova Healthcare  has announced  the availability of a toll-free helpline designed to help Medicare beneficiaries select a health plan that fits their needs and budget.

The free helpline connects callers with local licensed agents who can assist in comparing traditional Medicare, Medicare Advantage, Supplement and Prescription plans, and then facilitate enrollment in the plan selected. Through this program it will be easier for Medicare beneficiaries to find a plan that is best for them during Medicare annual enrollment from Oct. 15 through Dec. 7. Licensed insurance agents are available at no cost or obligation to help consumers find a Medicare plan that meets their health care needs.

Local consumers can access the helpline at 855-721-8091, Monday through Friday, 9 am to 8 pm EDT, or online at Consumers may also call the helpline to schedule meetings with agents at North Knoxville Medical Center in Powell, Turkey Creek Medical Center in Knoxville, Jefferson Memorial Hospital in Jefferson City, LaFollette Medical Center in LaFollette, and Newport Medical Center in Newport.

“Consumers are bombarded with confusing messages from competing health plans and options—and this is especially true for those just turning 65 and becoming eligible for Medicare for the first time,” said Tony Benton, chief executive officer of Tennova Healthcare in East Tennessee. “This helpline is a one-stop resource for insurance information, so individuals can be confident in the selections they make.”

MedicareCompareUSA is the nation’s leading company helping consumers make this important decision. Not owned or managed by any Medicare insurance company, MedicareCompareUSA’s mission is to provide individuals the unbiased information they need while simplifying the enrollment process.

In addition to providing assistance throughout the plan application and enrollment process, agents of MedicareCompareUSA can provide an annual review of an enrollee’s Medicare coverage during Medicare’s enrollment period. This often includes assisting members affected by Medicare plan network changes that sometimes occur. Doing so assures that beneficiaries have the information they need to proactively select a plan that best meets their specific needs, preferences and budget.

Benton points out that Tennova is not in-network with all insurance options or health plans, and contractual relationships may change over time. If a patient enrolls with a health plan that does not include Tennova’s hospitals in East Tennessee in the network, their care and relationships with their doctors could be affected.

“Members of our community have been entrusting us to be their healthcare partner for many years, and that’s a responsibility and honor we don’t take lightly,” Benton said. “This helpline will help those on Medicare make an informed decision regarding their insurance options at this important time in their life. We urge all eligible consumers to take advantage of this free service.”

Traditional Medicare and the Medicare Advantage plans offered by Humana, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee as well as Cigna HealthSpring and Amerigroup all allow consumers covered by these plans full access to in-network medical care and procedures at the Tennova hospitals in East Tennessee.

As of March 1, 2019, the following Tennova hospitals are no longer contracted to be in-network providers for United Healthcare Medicare Advantage plans: Jefferson Memorial Hospital in Jefferson City, LaFollette Medical Center in LaFollette, Newport Medical Center in Newport, North Knoxville Medical Center in Powell and Turkey Creek Medical Center in Knoxville.  (WLAF NEWS PUBLISHED – 10/18/2019-6AM)