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WellPoint Affiliates Offer Wide Range of Options for Medicare’s Annual Election Period

Most Medicare Advantage Plans Include Dental and Vision, Online Visits, Additional Benefits

INDIANAPOLIS--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Oct. 14, 2014-- WellPoint’s affiliated Medicare offerings for the 2014 enrollment season will include new plans, new provider collaborations, enhanced benefits and online doctor visits.

The traditional Medicare Advantage and Part D enrollment season begins on Oct. 15 with the opening of the Annual Election Period (AEP) and continues through Dec. 7. This is when most people eligible for Medicare, including those 65 and older and those with certain disabilities, buy or change their Medicare plans. WellPoint affiliates in 21 states will offer a host of plans this year, including Medicare Advantage (MA), Prescription Drug Plans (PDPs), Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug Plans (MAPD), group plans and Medicare Supplement products.

“We recognize that no two Medicare beneficiaries are the same so we are offering an expanded continuum of products with the goal of having something for every beneficiary to consider,” said Marc Russo, president of Medicare programs for WellPoint. “This year, in particular, we’ve focused on developing products that are a good value and easy to use with benefits that help members get and stay healthy.”

Some of the highlights include the following.

Health care provider collaboration. WellPoint has developed new, value-based contracting partnerships with high-quality providers across the country in an effort to both coordinate health care and improve the quality of care for its members while working to ensure appropriate services are provided. “Through these new types of relationships, we are working more closely with health care providers than ever before,” Russo said.

New plan options. WellPoint affiliates are adding Dual-Eligible Special Needs Plans (DSNPs) in 145 counties in 12 states this year. DSNPs are MA plans that provide enhanced benefits to people eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid. DSNPs are the largest and fastest growing type of the special needs plans1. These plans are $0 premium plans with $0 copays. All include dental and vision coverage, many feature some transportation to doctor’s appointments, and some include over-the-counter drug coverage. “Many more Medicare beneficiaries qualify for these plans than realize it,” Russo said. “Our hope is to address this by expanding the availability of these types of plans.”

Additionally, traditional Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs), which tend to provide lower costs, are being introduced in 67 new counties in nine states; and Local Preferred Provider Organizations (PPOs), which tend to provide greater flexibility and choice, are being added in two Missouri counties.

Additional benefits. Vision and dental benefits are being added in most WellPoint-affiliated MA plans this year where they didn’t exist previously. This is important since vision and dental health are closely aligned to overall health. Dental benefits, in particular, can be difficult for seniors to secure. According to a 2013 WellPoint survey, only four in 10 older Americans (41 percent) said they currently had dental coverage and 32 percent of those without insurance admitted forgoing dental care because they had other expenses to worry about.

Most WellPoint-affiliated MA plans will now also include a program to help members with advanced illness planning. The Vital Decisions program provides counseling by telephone to help members with certain advanced illnesses identify their goals, share them with loved ones and take steps toward meeting them.

More preferred pharmacies. Members of all of WellPoint’s affiliated Part D standalone Prescription Drug Plans (PDPs) and most of its affiliated Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug Plans (MAPD) can save on their drug copays by using a preferred pharmacy. The number of preferred pharmacies is increasing by almost 50 percent this year with the addition of CVS/pharmacy, Food Lion, Giant Eagle Pharmacy, Hannaford, Harris Teeter Pharmacy and Target. They join Kroger and Walmart and their affiliates in the network. Additionally, most WellPoint-affiliated MAPD plans have added a “select care” tier to their formularies this year that includes certain generics for the treatment of hypertension, cholesterol and diabetes for $0 copay to encourage members with these conditions to stay healthy by following their treatment regimens.

Healthy programs. Speaking of staying healthy, the SilverSneakers fitness program will once again be available in most WellPoint-affiliated MA plans this year to help members stay active, while addressing aging issues. SilverSneakers facilities are located at thousands of convenient locations nationwide.

Online visits. LiveHealth Online will be featured in many WellPoint affiliated MA plans in 13 states this AEP. LiveHealth Online allows members to visit a board certified doctor on a secure connection over the Internet via a smart phone, tablet or computer. Members can see these doctors on their own schedule in certain non-emergency situations without having to leave their homes. Moreover, if medically appropriate and allowed by the state, LiveHealth Online’s doctors can send prescriptions directly to a nearby pharmacy. A summary of each visit is created and can be forwarded to the patient’s primary care doctor with their permission, supporting continuity of care and collaboration among providers.

For details about WellPoint affiliated Medicare plans in your area, call (888) 900-4537 or visit your local plan’s site on the Internet. Local plans will be holding educational events and home visits throughout AEP. Additionally, WellPoint-affiliated agents will be available at some locations of five retailers this year: Kroger, Giant Eagle, CVS Pharmacies, Hannaford Brothers and Kmart. Hours vary.

About WellPoint Inc.

WellPoint is working to transform health care with trusted and caring solutions. Our health plan companies deliver quality products and services that give their members access to the care they need. With nearly 69 million people served by its affiliated companies, including more than 37 million enrolled in its family of health plans, WellPoint is one of nation’s leading health benefits companies. WellPoint companies serve members as the Blue Cross licensee for California; and as the Blue Cross and Blue Shield licensees for Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Missouri (excluding 30 counties in the Kansas City area), Nevada, New Hampshire, New York (as the Blue Cross Blue Shield licensee in 10 New York City metropolitan and surrounding counties and as the Blue Cross or Blue Cross Blue Shield licensee in selected upstate counties only), Ohio, Virginia (excluding the Northern Virginia suburbs of Washington, D.C.), and Wisconsin. In most of these service areas, WellPoint does business as Anthem Blue Cross, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia and Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield, or Empire Blue Cross (in the New York service areas). It also serves customers in other states through its Amerigroup, CareMore and UniCare subsidiaries. To find out more about WellPoint, go to wellpoint.com.

WellPoint affiliates are PPO, LPPO, RPPO and HMO plans with a Medicare contract. Enrollment in WellPoint affiliates depends on contract renewal. The benefit information provided is a brief summary, not a complete description of benefits. For more information, contact the plan. Limitations, copayments, and restrictions may apply. Benefits, formulary, pharmacy network, provider network, premium and/or co-payments/co-insurance may change on Jan. 1 of each year. You must continue to pay your Medicare Part B premium.

This plan is available to anyone who has both Medical Assistance from the State and Medicare. Premiums, co-pays, co-insurance, and deductibles may vary based on the level of Extra Help you receive. Please contact the plan for further details.

1 Data source is CPSC June 2014 Membership File from CMS

Source: WellPoint Inc.

WellPoint Inc.
Media Contacts:
Doug Bennett Jr., (502) 889-2103
doug.bennettjr@wellpoint.com

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