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BlueCross BlueShield Offers Seniors Stable Rates, New Options for 2017 Medicare Advantage Enrollment Period

October 01, 2017

October 15 - December 7 window for seniors to switch or enroll in 2017 coverage.

Stable rates for BlueCross BlueShield members in 2017.

New tailored-network plan offers lower premium access to Catholic Health System

Beginning Saturday, October 15, tens of thousands of Medicare-eligible Western New York seniors can re-evaluate their options and enroll in a health insurance plan that best meets their needs. With the annual enrollment window approaching, BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York has announced stable rates and a range of options for seniors to choose from, as well as the support they need to make the most educated decision.

“Our priority this enrollment window was to provide stability and choice to Western New York Medicare Advantage members.” said Dave Busch, Senior Vice President, Chief Sales Officer, BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York.

New for 2017, BlueCross BlueShield will expand its tailored-network offerings with a lower-premium PPO product that covers emergency care at any hospital, however routine or medical services will only be covered at Catholic Health facilities.

BlueCross BlueShield introduced the region’s first tailored-network Medicare Advantage product in 2014, which has been the health plan’s most popular Medicare Advantage product. Over 30% of BlueCross BlueShield members chose to enroll in the product that restricted all non-emergent care to Kaleida Health facilities over a product that offered un-restricted access to BlueCross BlueShield’s full network over the past two years.

Members will now have the option to choose between two lower-priced tailored network offerings, which can be attractive for individuals who prefer to utilize either of the region’s two largest health systems.

BlueCross BlueShield’s six Medicare Advantage products include a variety of features such as $0 preventive services, $0 gym membership to more than 12,000 fitness locations through SilverSneakers®, $0 community health and wellness classes, and the support of more than 250 nurses and health and wellness professionals. Additionally, eligible seniors can access Care at Home, a program that delivers 24/7 care in the comfort of their home, like traditional house calls.

Medicare Advantage is the portion of Medicare through which private health plans like BlueCross BlueShield provide comprehensive medical coverage to seniors and individuals with disabilities. The program is extremely popular locally, with over 50% of all Medicare beneficiaries in Western New York choosing to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan. This is significantly higher than the national average of 32%.

Individuals can choose the best Medicare Advantage and prescription drug coverage plan for their health care needs during the October 15 – December 7 open enrollment period. Once enrolled, their new plan will take effect January 1, 2017.

“It’s important for individuals to revisit their Medicare Advantage plans each and every year," added Busch. "There is a lot to consider, but that’s why we’re here. We encourage our seniors to contact us so we can help guide them to the plan that works best for them."

BlueCross BlueShield provides a number of outlets and resources for individuals to have their questions answered and enroll in a plan.

The health plan will hold over 150 community meetings across Western New York throughout the enrollment window, offering individuals and their family members the opportunity to walk in and meet personally with a licensed Medicare Advantage consultant. For a full list of community meetings visit our meetings page.

Additionally, individuals can call BlueCross BlueShield’s dedicated Medicare Advantage number at 1-800-248-9296 (TTY 711), email, or visit to schedule an in-home meeting or for more information.

About our BlueCross BlueShield’s benefits and premiums

BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York is a Medicare Advantage plan with a Medicare contract and enrollment depends on contract renewal.

This information is not a complete description of benefits. Contact the plan for more information.

Benefits, premium, and/or copayments/coinsurance may change on January 1 of each year. Limitations, copayments, and restrictions may apply. The formulary, pharmacy network, and/or provider network may change at any time. You will receive notice when necessary. Eligible beneficiaries must use network pharmacies to access their prescription drug benefit, except under non-routine circumstances, and quantity limitations and restrictions may apply.

About enrollment

Individuals must have both Parts A and B to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan. Individuals may enroll in a plan only during specific times of the year. There are additional enrollment guidelines. Contact BlueCross BlueShield for more information.

About our partners

SilverSneakers® is a registered mark of Healthways, Inc. Healthways is an independent company that administers the SilverSneakers® gym benefit.