Medicare anyone? Operator offers its own coverage

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A company that operates retirement communities is setting up its own Medicare plan for residents.

Erickson Retirement Communities of Maryland plans to offer its own Medicare plan in partnership with Minnesota-based UnitedHealth Group Inc. As of October, seven thousand seniors will be able to buy their Medicare health insurance through Erickson, which received permission to offer coverage from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

Erickson argues that its healthcare is less costly than when seniors live at home because residents receive more thorough primary care and can participate in physical activities at the communities. As a result, there are fewer hospital admissions and shorter hospital stays.