Press Releases

Thursday, October 05, 2017

Highmark announces 2018 Medicare Advantage plans for central Pennsylvania

  • Premiums stable for coming year
  • Community Blue Medicare HMO available with zero premium in central Pa.
  • New Community Blue Medicare PPO pairs high value coverage with freedom to travel

PITTSBURGH, Pa. (Oct. 5, 2017) — Highmark Blue Shield announced today a wide range of affordable Medicare Advantage health plans for Medicare-eligible individuals to choose from during the 2018 annual election period, which begins Oct. 15 and runs through Dec. 7, 2017.

"Our plans are simple to understand and easy to use," said Debbie Smith, senior vice president of Senior Markets at Highmark. "We offer affordable plans at multiple price points including zero dollar monthly premium plans. We are especially pleased that Highmark's extensive network in central Pennsylvania includes in-network coverage with our strategic partner Lehigh Valley Health Network."

"Partnering with Highmark for the benefit of our Medicare-eligible population is an excellent adjunct to the recent expansions of Lehigh Valley Health Network into the east-central regions of Pennsylvania," said Gregory G. Kile, chief insurance officer, Lehigh Valley Health Network. "Our quality care and the flexible options provided by Highmark are a perfect match for optimizing the health of our communities."

Community Blue Medicare HMO, Highmark's most popular Medicare Advantage plan in western Pennsylvania, will now be available with a zero premium for the first time in central Pennsylvania. Members pay:

  • No additional monthly premiums
  • No co-pays for primary care visits
  • No co-pays for tier one preferred generic drugs at preferred pharmacies
  • No deductibles

"Seniors tell me they love the idea of zero premium plans, but then ask how much the monthly premium is," Smith noted. "They cannot believe such plans are possible. Yet, Highmark has over 20,000 members enrolled in zero premiums plans who already know they're not too good to be true."

Community Blue Medicare HMO zero premium plans offer members robust medical and prescription drug benefits as well as many supplemental benefits. Like members in other Highmark Medicare Advantage health plans, they can access routine dental cleanings every  six months, routine vision care, free SilverSneakers gym memberships, routine chiropractic treatment and hearing aids. Annual wellness exams and preventive health screenings are also included. Consumers can read more about zero premium plans on the Highmark Health Blog

Community Blue Medicare PPO is Highmark's new product offering for 2018. Community Blue Medicare PPOs offer the same benefits and use a similar network as the Community Blue Medicare HMO plans, with the additional freedom to travel across the United States and find in-network coverage. Detailed descriptions of all Highmark Medicare Advantage plans, including network and pricing are available at

Highmark's Medicare Preferred Value Network for Pharmacy is another new benefit for Medicare eligible individuals in Central Pennsylvania. It is one of several ways Highmark helps members save money on prescription drugs. Members who choose to fill their prescriptions at participating pharmacies will save money on prescription co-pays and coinsurance, including a zero dollar co-pay for tier one preferred generic drugs. Participating pharmacies include Giant, Rite Aid, Walgreen's, Walmart, Costco, Sam's Club and other popular retail pharmacies.

Highmark's Freedom Blue PPOs, BlueRx PDP standalone prescription drug plans, and Medigap Blue Medicare Supplement plans round out Highmark's Medicare product offerings for 2018. Medigap Blue members have access to any local hospital in Pennsylvania and any physician of their choice.


Highmark Inc., doing business as Highmark Blue Shield, serves approximately 1.1 million members through the company’s health care benefits business and hundreds of thousands of additional members through the BlueCard® program. Highmark Blue Shield significantly leads its competitors in commercial market share, with strong Medicare Advantage market share as well. Highmark Blue Shield employs more than 3,500 people in central Pennsylvania and Lehigh Valley. Highmark 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

H3957_H3916_S5593_17_0875 Accepted

Community Blue Medicare HMO is a limited network plan. If you want access to Highmark’s full provider network, you may wish to consider our Freedom Blue PPO Medicare Advantage product.

Community Blue Medicare PPO is a plan with in and out-of-network coverage. Out-of-network hospitals and physicians are accessible at a higher, out-of-network copay. If you want in-network access to Highmark’s full provider network, you may wish to consider our Freedom Blue PPO Medicare Advantage Product.

Please verify that your providers are participating before enrolling. If a provider does not participate, neither Medicare nor Community Blue Medicare HMO will be responsible for the costs. 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. Out-of-network/non-contracted providers are under no obligation to treat Freedom Blue PPO members and/or Community Blue Medicare PPO members, except in emergency situations. For a decision about whether we will cover an out-of-network service, we encourage you or your provider to ask us for a pre-service organization determination before you receive the service. Please call our customer service number or see your Evidence of Coverage for more information, including the cost-sharing that applies to out-of-network services. SilverSneakers is a registered mark of Tivity Health, Inc. Tivity Health Inc., is a separate company that administers the SilverSneakers program. Highmark Choice Company and Highmark Senior Health Company are Medicare Advantage plans with a Medicare contract. HM Health Insurance Company is a PDP plan with a Medicare contract. Enrollment in Highmark Choice Company, Highmark Senior Health Company, and HM Health Insurance Company depends on contract renewal. Highmark Blue Shield, Highmark Choice Company, Highmark Senior Health Company and HM Health Insurance Company are independent licensees of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.

Highmark Blue Shield complies with applicable Federal civil rights laws and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, or sex.

ATENCIÓN: Si usted habla español, servicios de asistencia lingüística, de forma gratuita, están disponibles para usted. Llame al número en la parte posterior de su tarjeta de identificación (TTY: 711).


For more information, contact:
Leilyn Perri