PHILADELPHIA, Oct. 2, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Independence Blue Cross (IBC) today announced that for 2014 it will continue to offer its Keystone 65 Select HMO Medicare Advantage (MA) plan with no monthly premium in all five counties it serves. The Select plan is one of eight comprehensive IBC options Medicare beneficiaries can choose during this year's annual enrollment period from October 15 to December 7, with benefits effective January 1, 2014.
IBC is also pleased to announce that for 2014:
- Most of its Medicare Advantage plan premiums will decrease.
- Personal Choice 65 PPO premiums will decrease by nearly 41 percent for the medical only product and by nearly 23 percent for medical and prescription drug product in Bucks and Philadelphia counties.
- IBC's zero premium Keystone 65 Select Rx HMO plan will also include prescription drug at no additional cost in Bucks and Philadelphia counties with reduced premiums for this product and prescription drug in Delaware, Chester, and Montgomery counties.
- There will be no change in premium to the Keystone 65 Preferred HMO medical only product and minimal increases averaging between 1.4 and 6.3 percent to include prescription drug coverage.
- Keystone Select 65 HMO plan provides members access to a robust network of hospitals, which includes most of the region's top hospitals. A list of participating hospitals is available at www.ibxmedicare.com.
"Our 2014 Medicare products continue to offer the long-term stability and peace of mind our members have come to expect from Independence Blue Cross," said Robert J. Smith, IBC vice president of sales and marketing for government markets. "As the largest Medicare health plan in our region, we've worked hard to be the plan people know and trust by staying committed to our members over the years while other insurers have come and gone. We are excited to offer a variety of affordable plans to fit every member's needs."
IBC's full portfolio of Medicare health plans in 2014 includes four Keystone 65 Select HMO options, two Keystone 65 Preferred HMO plans, and two Personal Choice 65 PPO plan options in addition to prescription drug and Medicare Supplement products.
All of IBC's Medicare Advantage plans offer members additional value by including extra benefits to help keep its members healthy, such as the SilverSneakers® fitness program, at no cost. IBC's Medicare Advantage health plans also include coverage for emergency or urgent care anywhere in the world—providing members the security they need when on the go. In addition, IBC's health plans offer hearing, dental, and vision coverage, which is included in the monthly premium for some plans and can be purchased for $7 a month for other plans.
IBC also offers BlueExtraSM, a low-cost supplemental plan that includes dental, vision, and hearing aid coverage — benefits that are often not included in Medicare Advantage or Medicare Supplement plans. BlueExtra may be purchased by anyone who would like to have hearing, dental, or vision coverage in addition to their medical coverage, whether or not they are covered by an IBC health plan.
"We are committed to serving our members and prospective members during this open enrollment period and speaking with them about ways to save them money and keep them healthy," said Smith. "We have more than 1,000 dedicated licensed brokers/sales agents available to help members make the best plan choice to meet their needs. We're hosting more than 200 meetings and setting up information booths at a number of local retail pharmacies and supermarkets throughout the five counties to help people get the information they need to make informed decisions."
Enrollment rules and options
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) generally permits individual Medicare beneficiaries to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan or Part D plan only during the six-week annual enrollment period, from October 15 to December 7. Beneficiaries cannot change to another Medicare Advantage plan after December 7, however, from January 1 to February 14, CMS allows Medicare beneficiaries to disenroll from a MA plan and sign up for a Medicare Supplement or return to Original Medicare.
Members and prospective members can learn more about IBC's Medicare plans by visiting www.ibxmedicare.com or calling 1-877-393-6733 or TTY/TDD: 1-877-219-5457 and signing up for an IBC information meeting held at locations across southeastern Pennsylvania from now until year-end. In addition, beneficiaries can buy an IBC individual MA plan through one of IBC's licensed brokers or agents.
About Independence Blue Cross
Proudly celebrating its 75th anniversary in 2013, Independence Blue Cross is the leading health insurer in southeastern Pennsylvania. With our affiliates, we serve more than 7 million people nationwide, including 2.2 million in the region. We are enhancing the health and wellness of the people and communities we serve by delivering innovative and competitively priced health care products and services; pioneering new ways to reward doctors, hospitals, and other health care professionals for coordinated, quality care; and supporting programs and events that promote wellness. To learn more about how we're changing the game, visit www.ibx.com. Connect with us on Facebook at ibx.com/facebook and on Twitter at @ibx. Independence Blue Cross is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.
Source:Independence Blue Cross