Press Releases

Saturday, October 01, 2022

Highmark Medicare products make care more affordable — West Virginia

  • Introducing 2 brand new $0 premium plans
    • Freedom Blue PPO Merit, with competitive benefits and a generous part B giveback
    • Freedom Blue PPO Valor designed specifically for our nation’s veterans
  • Introducing Freedom Blue PPO Prestige — a $48 premium plan with some of the lowest copays that Highmark offers across West Virginia
  • Added value for current Highmark members with lower copays and expanded supplemental benefits, including increased dental and over-the-counter allowances on some plans
  • Access to the West Virginia Concierge Connect team — a specialized customer service team that is based in WV and dedicated to serving Highmark West Virginia members. 
  • Lowered premiums for Freedom Blue PPO Distinct and Freedom Blue PPO Standard members
  • Waiving in-patient COVID related cost-sharing for the third year in a row
  • Locally based Medicare Advisors to guide shoppers through plan selection and enrollment and answer any questions

Parkersburg, W.Va. (October 1, 2022) — Highmark has announced plan enhancements that will provide more value to Medicare members with lower premiums and copays, expanded supplemental benefits, and the introduction of new Medicare Advantage products to ensure a portfolio of plans that meets the needs of all West Virginia consumers.

“When we began planning for our 2023 Medicare products, we looked at ways to make enhancements that help make high-quality care more affordable for West Virginia seniors,” said Alexis Miller, Government Business President. All of our plans offer $0 PCP visits and many offer $0 labs, and we have lowered copays for specialists and physical therapists on many plans to make it more affordable to access high-quality care.”   

Continued commitment to member health
Highmark recognizes that the right Medicare Advantage plan is affordable both when you are healthy and when you need to access more care.  “We are adding two new $0 premium products that are a great value,” said Ellen Galardy, senior vice president of Highmark Medicare & ACA Markets.  “We’re confident that one of our local Medicare experts can help shoppers find a plan that fits both their budget and their healthcare needs. 

In addition to product improvements designed to make access to care easier and more affordable, Highmark offers many additional benefits and tools that make it easier for our members to stay engaged with their health and manage chronic conditions.

“We recognize how important it is for our senior members to have affordable access to their prescriptions,” said Galardy. “This year we are enhancing our Rx benefits on many plans by lowering copays, which will help our members to fill their prescriptions at a lower out-of-pocket cost.”

Highmark enrollees can also continue to expect robust supplemental benefits that go beyond original Medicare to ensure they have access to the products and services they need to stay healthy. Highmark plans include dental, vision, and hearing coverage, and some plans also offer free transportation to medical appointments, allowances for over-the-counter items, and free home-delivered meals following a hospital stay.

Finally, Highmark recognizes that, sometimes, getting and staying healthy requires help.  That is why Highmark offers the Papa Pals program with select plans, where members have a $0 copay for up to 36 hours of additional support services such as transportation, respite care, and home visits. 

2023 Medicare Advantage products
Jim Fawcett, Highmark Market President, West Virginia, recognizes the growing popularity of Medicare Advantage plans.  “Each year, more and more seniors in West Virginia choose a Medicare Advantage plan," said Fawcett. “These plans offer premiums as low as $0 and include valuable supplemental benefits like dental and vision coverage.  And seniors in Medicare Advantage plans are more likely to get preventive care, which is key to staying healthy.”

In 2023, Highmark will provide more value to Medicare members with lower premiums and copays and expanded supplemental benefits.  Highmark will also launch three new plans, including two $0 premium plans, to create a portfolio that better meets the needs of all consumers.

The new Freedom Blue PPO Valor is a $0 premium plan with a $60 Part B giveback that is designed to supplement the medical and drug coverage our nation’s veterans already receive through the VA.  Not only does this plan offer $0 in-network primary care and $10 specialist visits, but also includes $5 copays for mental health visits and generous supplemental benefits, including $0 dental exams and x-rays. 

“We wanted to honor our veterans by making sure we have an option for a great Medicare Advantage plan that complements the coverage they receive through the VA. Plus, many of our $0 plans also offer enhanced supplemental benefits, including vision, comprehensive dental, hearing, and allowances for over-the-counter items,” said Fawcett.

For the more budget-conscious Medicare shopper, Highmark’s brand new Freedom Blue PPO Merit plan comes with a $0 premium, $34 monthly Part B giveback, and quarterly over-the-counter allowances, as well as $0 copays for PCP visits and preferred generic prescriptions at preferred pharmacies.  The Freedom Blue PPO Signature plan also comes with a $0 premium, and offers low copays for many benefits such as specialist visits, physical therapy, labs, and preventive dental services.   

For the consumers who don’t mind paying a premium up front to minimize out of pocket costs, the Freedom Blue PPO Distinct plan will see a premium reduction in 2023 and comes with low copays on professional services.  Highmark has also enhanced supplemental benefits on this plan including free preventive dental and an increased over-the-counter allowance.  Highmark’s new Freedom Blue PPO Prestige plan, with a $48 monthly premium, provides $0 copays on PCP and specialist visits allowances for dental, hearing, vision, and over-the-counter items.

The Freedom Blue PPO Standard plan will benefit from lower premiums, reduced copays for outpatient services and advanced imaging, plus valuable features to help members recover from serious illness like our post-discharge meal delivery and Papa Pals services.

Fawcett also noted that all Highmark West Virginia Medicare members also have access to the West Virginia Concierge Team. “Concierge team customer service reps, who are based in West Virginia, are experts in plan benefits and can connect Highmark West Virginia Medicare members to tools and resources to support their health and well-being, such as assisting with appointment scheduling, setting up virtual visits, and much more to help keep members on track to live their healthiest lives,” he said.

In addition to Medicare Advantage plans, Highmark offers a wide range of Medigap Blue supplemental products to ensure that everyone can find the right Highmark Medicare plan for them.  Medigap Blue lowers members’ out of pocket costs for services covered under Medicare Part A and Part B, and offers the freedom and flexibility to see any doctor or hospital in the country that accepts Medicare. Additionally, members of Highmark Medigap Blue plans have exclusive access to the Whole Health Balance program, which provides extra coverage for hearing aids, vision, dental and fitness.  Highmark also offers standalone Blue Rx PDP prescription drug plans.

For more information on any of Highmark’s Medicare offerings or detailed descriptions of all Highmark Medicare Advantage plans, call a Medicare expert at 1-800-318-1487.  Information and pricing are also available at

About Highmark Inc.
One of America's leading health insurance organizations and an independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, Highmark Inc. (the Health Plan) and its affiliated health plans (collectively, the Health Plans) work passionately to deliver high-quality, accessible, understandable, and affordable experiences, outcomes, and solutions to customers. As the fourth-largest overall Blue Cross Blue Shield-affiliated organization, Highmark Inc. and its Blue-branded affiliates proudly cover the insurance needs of approximately 6.8 million members in Pennsylvania, Delaware, New York and West Virginia. Its diversified businesses serve group customer and individual needs across the United States through dental insurance and other related businesses. For more information, visit

For more information, contact

Cathy McAlister
Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield