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Independence Blue Cross Star Ratings Increase for its Medicare Advantage Plans

PHILADELPHIA, Nov. 6, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Independence Blue Cross (Independence) announced that its Personal Choice 65 (PPO) and Keystone 65 (HMO) Medicare Advantage health plans each received a 4.5 Star rating from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) for the 2015 Star ratings, which is an increase of a half star over the previous year. This rating makes Independence's plans among the highest rated Medicare Advantage plans in the region.

CMS assigns Star ratings from one to five, with five being the highest, to Medicare Advantage plans based on 46 care and service quality measures, including staying healthy, managing chronic conditions, member satisfaction, customer service, and pharmacy services. The rating system provides a way for consumers to objectively compare Medicare health plans. Nationally, only approximately 18 percent of Medicare Advantage plans with drug coverage earned four and a half stars or higher. Star ratings are assessed annually and may change from year to year.

A key element of the Star ratings is member satisfaction and specifically the number of complaints lodged with CMS and member survey responses. To help improve its service, Independence Blue Cross has developed predictive models and machine-learning algorithms which make sense of the massive amounts of data stored by health plans and others, revealing patterns, trends, and other important connections. The company applied this technology to move beyond simply answering customers' calls about their Medicare Advantage plans to reaching out proactively to members before they have issues that would require help. This initiative has resulted in increased member engagement and satisfaction levels, which contributed positively to the Star measures associated with customer service.

"We're very excited and proud of our improved Star ratings, which reflect our strong commitment to providing top service and high quality plans for our members," said Daphne Klausner, vice president of Performance Management for Government Markets at Independence. "Our improved Star ratings demonstrate that our members greatly value our robust network of high quality doctors and hospitals and feel they get the care they need, when they need it."

About Independence Blue Cross

Independence Blue Cross is the leading health insurance organization in southeastern Pennsylvania. With our affiliates, we serve more than 9 million people in 24 states and the District of Columbia. For more than 75 years, we have been 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.

CONTACT: Ruth Stoolman 215-241-4807 Ruth.stoolman@ibx.com

Source:Independence Blue Cross