FirstMedicare Direct smartHMO, a new Medicare Advantage plan available to Wake County residents, has been recognized as an “exceptional value” among other Medicare plans offered in the county. The plan is offered by FirstCarolinaCare Insurance Co., which enters the Wake County market Jan. 1, 2017, through its partnership with Alignment Healthcare.

“Our focus at FirstCarolinaCare has always been to provide our members with the affordable coverage they need to access the health care services they deserve,” said Craig Humphrey, president of FirstCarolinaCare Insurance Company.  “We are excited that FirstMedicare Direct has been recognized as a best value plan for seniors in Wake County.”

Medicare beneficiaries have until Dec. 7 to make changes to their health plan for benefits starting Jan. 1, but some may request a special election period from Medicare in order to switch plans outside of the annual election period.

Every fall, HealthMetrix Research Inc. ranks Medicare Advantage plans in more than 100 cities across 47 states and Puerto Rico based on value in the design of their medical and Part D prescription drug benefits available effective Jan. 1 of the following year. The independent research firm awards a Senior Choice Gold Award to plans that demonstrate the best value within their respective market.

FirstMedicare Direct smartHMO received the 2017 Senior Choice Gold Award for “Excellence in Medicare Benefits Value & Performance” in Wake County.

“At Alignment Healthcare, we strive each and every day to make sure our patients receive the very best care possible,” said John Kao, CEO and president of Alignment Healthcare. “These awards confirm that the care we provide is being recognized, and we will continue to do what is necessary to put our patients’ health first.”

North Carolina residents who enroll in FirstMedicare Direct smartHMO have exclusive access to Alignment Healthcare Centers, a resource that offers personalized, integrated and comprehensive disease-management programs for chronic conditions such as diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and congestive heart failure, as well as wound care and pre-operative and post-hospitalization care. The centers feature state-of-the-art technology, including wireless telemedicine options for those with chronic health problems who may need monitoring at home. Remote monitoring kits can send biometric information to the care center and alert the care team to issues such as low blood sugar or sudden weight change. An Alignment Healthcare clinician will be in touch with the member within minutes of receiving an alert.

About Alignment Healthcare

Alignment Healthcare is redefining the business of health care by shifting the focus from payments to people. We’ve created a new model for health care delivery that cuts costs and improves lives by unraveling the inefficiencies of the current system to drive patients, providers and payers toward a common goal of wellness. Harnessing best practices from Medicare Advantage, our innovative data-management technology allows us to commit to caring for seniors and those who need it most: the chronically ill and frail. With offices and care centers across the country, Alignment Healthcare provides partners and patients with customized care and service where they need it and when they need it, including clinical coordination, risk management and technology facilitation. Alignment Healthcare offers HMO plan options to California residents through the Alignment Health Plan, and partners with select health plans in North Carolina and Florida to help deliver better benefits at lower costs. For more information, please visit

About FirstCarolinaCare

Formed in 1999 by parent company FirstHealth of the Carolinas, FirstCarolinaCare was licensed by the North Carolina Department of Insurance in October 2000. In 2007, FirstCarolinaCare broadened its structure and received its license as a North Carolina insurance company. Over the years, it has received a number of significant awards for leadership in the health insurance industry. In addition to its Medicare Advantage product, FirstMedicare Direct, FirstCarolinaCare offers a wide range of health benefit plans for businesses throughout North Carolina and serves more than 25,000 members. For more information, go to

Media Contacts

Jackie Hyland
Alignment Healthcare
[email protected] 
(919) 618-1597 

Emily Sloan
FirstHealth of the Carolinas
[email protected] 
(910) 715-5376