Whether you presently have Medicare or just about to join the state-funded program; it can end up being a complicated process. Most seniors just want it spelled out in black and white about what coverage they get and what they have to pay for it. However, a few intricacies involved in the process do not make it a straightforward process.
The Original Medicare (Part A and B) is what you get when you become eligible for the state-funded healthcare program. It offers primary coverage for health needs but often falls short regarding its scope of coverage. For instance, Original Medicare does not cover prescription drugs, vision care, hearing aids, dental, and some costs related to specialized care.
Blue Cross Blue Shield Medicare Advantage Plans for 2019
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That is where private insurers step in to fill the gaps by offering Advantage plans. The same applies to the Blue Cross Blue Shield Medicare Advantage plans, they exist to help seniors access extra medical services that their primary Medicare cover does not handle.
About Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota
The insurer has a long history in the industry, having begun their operations in 1933. They hold accolades for their history in providing quality health care plans to the Midwest community and gaining recognizable satisfaction from their beneficiaries.
Blue Cross and Blue Shield (BCBS) of Minnesota provide the insurance services and provider networks that people want and need. They offer a complete portfolio of healthcare plans structured to provide coverage for individuals, the self-employed, families, small to large businesses, and seniors on Medicare.
Changes To Medicare Cost Plans In 2019
Medicare cost plans differ from other Medicare covers because they do not restrict enrollees to the insurer’s network of providers. That means that beneficiaries can freely seek Medicare-covered services from out-of-network providers. Often, beneficiaries retain their Original Medicare cover and get the supplemental insurance to fill the gaps.
With that said, it is wise to note at this point that these Medicare supplemental plans also called Medigap do not work collaboratively with the Advantage plans. Seniors often have to decide from the get-go whether they find it beneficial to have an Advantage also known as Part C plan or keep their Original Medicare cover alongside a supplemental policy.
In January 2019, the issuing o Medicare cost plans will come to an end in 12 states including Minnesota, Texas, and Maryland. That does not affect cost holders at the moment but come fall they might have to change their Medicare plans which will then become effective come next year.
The cost plans affected include BCBS’s Platinum Blue plans, but there are many more plans for beneficiaries to choose from when switching over. Also worth noting is that the policies will differ from current cost plans, but they will still offer comprehensive coverage.
Blue Cross Blue Shield Medicare Advantage Plans
Much like other private companies that offer Advantage plans, BCBS aims at delivering the convenience of a comprehensive Medicare cover through these covers. Their Advantage plan caters to the costs of Original Medicare costs (Part A and B), prescription drugs, and extras.
They do require that anyone looking to enroll in one of their Advantage plans to already have Part A and B, and also live within the plan’s service area. In essence, it means that you must have qualified and enrolled to the Original Medicare before considering taking up an Advantage plan.
There are two plan options, the core and choice plans when taking up a BCBS Advantage coverage. One plan and card essentially gives beneficiaries access to all the covered services.
BCBS Medicare Advantage 2019 Benefits
The BCBS Advantage plan provides coverage for the following medical needs:
- Monthly plan premiums, but beneficiaries must keep up with their Medicare Part B premiums.
- Beneficiaries also benefit from no deductibles coming with this plan.
- The plan also takes care of doctor’s office visits under a co-pay system.
- The BCBS Advantage plan covers specialist visits under a co-pay system.
- Inpatient hospital care is also a part of the coverage with a co-pay system.
- The Advantage plan also caters to emergency care also with a co-pay system.
- The maximum annual out-of-pocket expenses are $6,700 in-network.
It is worth noting that the prescriptions drugs coverage depends on the specific Advantage plan a beneficiary chooses.
The additional benefits that come with the BCBS Advantage plans include access to the Silver&Fit Exercise and Healthy Aging Program classes, health tools, and fitness equipment. The plans also take care of travel coverage within the first nine consecutive months allowing beneficiaries to receive in-network benefits from providers accepting Medicare. However, the travel period is only applicable once every year and beneficiaries must provide notice of their intent to travel.
The BCBS PPO Plans
The Blue Cross Blue Shield Medicare Advantage covers are Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) plans. The PPO network allows beneficiaries to receive full coverage at only the healthcare facilities within their network. However, beneficiaries can still receive some health care service from hospitals/clinics/doctor’s offices outside of their network with only partial coverage.
BCBS Medicare Advantage 2019
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It is therefore wise to be careful because going for out-of-network health care services might come with hefty out-of-pocket expenses.
Enrolling To A BCBS Advantage Plan
The open enrollment period to Medicare Advantage plans for 2019 begins on the 15th of October of 2018 and runs until the 7th of December 2018. However, the Extended Medicare Open Enrollment period (OEP) for 2019 runs from January 1st, 2019 to the 31st of March.
The open enrollment period also doubles as the Annual Election Period (AEP). During the AEP beneficiaries can:
- Switch over from the Original Medicare to Advantage plans or vice versa.
- Switch from one Advantage plan to another or make a switch from a Part D cover to another.
- Sign up to Part D as a late enrollment, but this often attracts a penalty.
With that in mind, it is best to sign up for a Blue Cross Blue Shield Medicare Advantage plan as soon as possible. For help choosing the best BCBS MA plan that suits your medical needs, reach out to us and we will be happy to help.