Press Releases

Monday, October 02, 2017

Highmark announces 2018 Medicare Advantage plans for western Pennsylvania

  • Premiums stable for coming year
  • Community Blue Medicare HMO Zero Premium Plan expands outside of western Pa.
  • New Community Blue Medicare PPO pairs high value coverage with freedom to travel
  • Giant Eagle joins Highmark's Preferred Value Network for Pharmacy


PITTSBURGH, Pa. (Oct. 2, 2017) — Highmark Blue Cross 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. Depending on the plan you select, Highmark's extensive network in western Pennsylvania includes Allegheny Health Network (AHN), UPMC, and local partner hospitals for care close to home."

Community Blue Medicare HMO zero premium plans, Highmark's most popular Medicare Advantage plan in western Pennsylvania, will now be available for the first time in central Pennsylvania and northeast Pennsylvania. It is expected to again be the most popular Highmark Medicare Advantage plan in western Pa. 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 plan members have robust medical and prescription drug benefits as well as many supplemental benefits. Like other Highmark Medicare Advantage members, 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 PPO offers the same benefits and uses a similar high value network as Community Blue Medicare HMO plans with the additional freedom to travel across the United States and find in-network coverage. Detailed descriptions all Highmark Medicare Advantage plans are available at

Highmark's Medicare Preferred Value Network for Pharmacy welcomes Giant Eagle as a participating pharmacy, joining Rite Aid, Walgreen's, Walmart, Costco, Sam's Club, and other popular retail pharmacies. This year the preferred value pharmacy network will be offered on more plans and across all Highmark Medicare Advantage markets. 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.

Highmark Medicare members enjoy another important program — PALS which stands for People Able to Lend Support. PALS connects seniors with a network of neighborhood volunteers to help them with transportation, grocery shopping, light housekeeping, pet care or simply a friendly visit. Many seniors in Pennsylvania would not be able to remain in their homes without the help of their PALS volunteer. To learn more about neighbors helping neighbors through PALS, visit the Highmark Health Blog.

Highmark's Security Blue HMOs, 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. and its health insurance subsidiaries and affiliates collectively are among the ten largest health insurers in the United States and comprise the fourth-largest Blue Cross and Blue Shield-affiliated organization. Highmark Inc. and affiliates operate health insurance plans in Pennsylvania, Delaware and West Virginia that serve 5 million members and hundreds of thousands of additional members through the BlueCard® program. Its diversified businesses serve group customer and individual needs across the United States through dental insurance, vision care and other related 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

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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.

Community Blue Medicare PPO is a plan with in and out-of-network coverage. UPMC hospitals and physicians are accessible at a higher, out-of-network copay. If you want in-network 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.

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 Cross 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 Cross 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.

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For more information, contact:
Aaron Billger

Kristy Cramlet