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Premiums on almost all of Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield's western Pennsylvania Medicare Advantage plans will be lower in 2016; Medicare annual election period begins Oct. 15

Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield

PITTSBURGH (Oct. 15, 2015) — Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield today announced lower premiums on almost all of its Medicare Advantage plans in advance of the 2016 Medicare annual election period (AEP), which begins on October 15.

Highmark has worked to ensure its members have affordable premiums and out-of-pocket costs. In fact, premiums on almost all of Highmark's western Pennsylvania Medicare Advantage plans will be lower in 2016. The biggest driver for lower premiums is increased government funding in part a result of the company's strong Star ratings, which is the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Service's (CMS) quality rating system. Highmark received 4.5 out of 5 Stars on all of its Medicare Advantage plans in western Pennsylvania for 2016.

"Highmark has decades of experience in providing health benefits to seniors," said Tim Lightner, Highmark's vice president of senior markets. "We offer a broad product portfolio of plans to seniors to meet their varying health care needs and budgets."

In addition to lowering premiums, members will also have enhanced plan benefits. Benefit enhancements for 2016 include:

  • Routine chiropractic and podiatry services offered on all plans
  • Lower preferred generic drug copays on most plans
  • Enhanced hearing aid benefit on all plans
  • Acupuncture covered on all Community Blue Medicare HMO plans

Last year, Highmark launched Community Blue Medicare HMO, a high-quality, lower-cost Medicare Advantage option for seniors in western Pennsylvania, which featured a provider network of 50 acute care hospitals and more than 11,500 physicians. In 2016, the network will expand to 26 western Pennsylvania counties (link to map), including Bedford, Cambria and Huntingdon counties. Conemaugh Health System will also now be a part of the network.

Individuals who select this offering will have the option to choose between two plans, which both include Part D prescription drug coverage: Community Blue Medicare HMO Signature, a $0 premium plan, and Community Blue Medicare HMO Prestige, a $193.50 premium plan.

In addition to Community Blue Medicare HMO, Highmark will continue to offer two other Medicare Advantage products: Freedom Blue PPO and Security Blue HMO. Contingent upon the Pennsylvania Supreme Court's ruling, members will continue to have broad in-network access to UPMC through these products.

"We're very pleased with the Medicare plans we're providing seniors during this year's Annual Election Period, and are confident they'll continue to see the benefits of our products and services," Lightner said.

Highmark remains the largest Medicare Advantage insurer in Pennsylvania with more than 295,000 members in Pennsylvania, including 180,000 members in western Pennsylvania.

About Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield

Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield serves approximately 3.2 million members through the company's health care benefits business and employs more than 4,700 people in western and northeastern Pennsylvania. Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, an association of independent Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies. For more information, visit www.highmark.com.

Disclaimer

Highmark Choice Company and Highmark Senior Health Company are independent licensees of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. You must continue to pay your Medicare Part B premium. This information is not a complete description of benefits. Contact the plan for more information. Limitations, copayments, and restrictions may apply. Benefits, premiums and/or co-payments/co-insurance may change on January 1 of each year. The provider network may change at any time. You will receive notice when necessary.

Medicare evaluates plans based on a 5-star rating system. Star ratings are calculated each year and may change from one year to the next.

Community Blue Medicare HMO is a limited network plan. If you want access to Highmark's full provider network, including UPMC hospitals and physicians, you may wish to consider our Security Blue HMO and Freedom Blue PPO Medicare Advantage products.

Highmark Choice Company and Highmark Senior Health Company are Medicare Advantage plans with a Medicare contract. Enrollment in Highmark Choice Company and Highmark Senior Health Company depends on contract renewal.

For more information, contact:
Aaron Billger
Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield
412-544-7826
aaron.billger@highmarkhealth.com