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Highmark Medicare Advantage membership continues to grow

Highmark Inc.

PITTSBURGH (Feb. 29, 2016) — Highmark Inc. announced that its Medicare Advantage enrollment grew 8 percent overall during the 2016 annual election period which ended December 7, 2015. Highmark now covers 514,000 seniors in a broad portfolio of Medicare products.

Highmark added close to 37,200 new Medicare Advantage members for a total of approximately 318,000 Medicare Advantage members throughout its Pennsylvania and West Virginia markets. In addition, Highmark retained 95 percent of its existing Medicare Advantage membership.

Highmark's Community Blue Medicare HMO plan grew by 70 percent making it by far the most popular of Highmark's three Medicare Advantage offerings in western Pennsylvania. The explosive growth in the Community Blue plan is notable because it exclusively features Allegheny Health Network, along with a broad network of high-quality, lower-cost community hospitals across the state.

"We are gratified to see members signing up for Community Blue Medicare HMO in such high numbers, despite the recent noise in western Pennsylvania," said Timothy Lightner, Highmark's vice president of senior markets, referring to a Pennsylvania Supreme Court decision halting a competitor's attempt to ban Highmark members from its network.

Highmark offered three different Medicare Advantage plans, Freedom Blue PPO, Security Blue HMO and Community Blue Medicare HMO, and a total of nine different plan designs, most with Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage.

Highmark's Medicare Advantage membership enrollment figures for 2016 broken out by market are listed below.

Western Pennsylvania:

  • Highmark has 182,877 Medicare Advantage members in western Pennsylvania.
  • Highmark added 13,548 new members during the 2016 open enrollment election period.
  • Individual Medicare Advantage membership grew by 3 percent.

Central and Northeastern Pennsylvania:

  • Highmark has 61,611 Medicare Advantage members in Central and Northeastern Pennsylvania.
  • Highmark added 4,635 new members during the 2016 open enrollment election period.
  • Individual Medicare Advantage membership grew by 4 percent.

West Virginia:

  • Highmark has 8,254 Medicare Advantage members in West Virginia.
  • Highmark added 722 new members during the 2016 open enrollment election period.
  • Individual membership grew by 4 percent.

"Consumers found a number of our plan design benefits attractive, including premium reductions of 3 to 5 percent in some markets, lower copays on preferred generic drugs, significant out-of-pocket savings on hearing aids, and acupuncture coverage on Highmark's Community Blue Medicare HMO plan," said Lightner.

"Premium savings were possible in part due to Highmark's high Star ratings from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS)," Lightner added. "We are particularly proud that Highmark achieved 4.5 out of 5 stars on each of its Medicare Advantage plans in Pennsylvania. This qualified us for increased government funding which we passed on to customers in the form of lower premiums."

Highmark also distinguishes itself by providing advanced illness services to support Medicare Advantage members and their families dealing with a serious or chronic illness. Through its partnership with Aspire, Highmark offers free around-the-clock in-home support to members. Another program, PALS (People Able to Lend Support) helps seniors stay in their homes and maintain their independence. It pairs members with volunteers who perform tasks like grocery shopping or dog walking, and provides social activities through which new friendships can form.

Highmark's total Medicare membership of 514,000 members across all markets including Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Delaware falls into the following categories:

  • 318,000 Medicare Advantage members
  • 124,000 Medigap members
  • 40,000 Standalone Medicare Part D members
  • 32,000 Medicare members covered through additional commercial products

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. You must continue to pay your Medicare Part B premium. The Formulary, pharmacy network, and/or 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. Highmark Choice Company, Highmark Senior Health Company and Highmark Senior Solutions Company are Medicare Advantage plans with a Medicare contract. Enrollment in Highmark Choice Company, Highmark Senior Health Company and Highmark Senior Solutions Company depends on contract renewal.

About Highmark Inc.

Highmark Inc. is among the ten largest health insurers in the United States and is the fourth-largest Blue Cross and Blue Shield-affiliated company. Highmark and its diversified businesses and affiliates operate health insurance plans in Pennsylvania, Delaware and West Virginia that serve 5.3 million members. Its diversified health businesses serve group customer and individual health needs across the United States through dental insurance, vision care and other related health businesses. Highmark 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.

For more information, contact:
Wendy Morphew
Highmark Health
412-544-3616
Wendy.morphew@highmarkhealth.org