Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield Emphasizes Better Health through Medicare Advantage Plans in New York, Provider Collaboration, Extra Benefits

NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–As Medicare’s primary sales season gets under way, Empire Blue Cross
Blue Shield (Empire) is emphasizing better health in New York through
provider collaboration agreements and new Medicare Advantage plans with
extra benefits.

This includes provider collaboration plans in some areas, as well as
expanding Dual-Eligible Special Needs Plans (DSNPs) for people eligible
for both Medicare and Medicaid, and traditional HMOs for the general
population. Empire Medicare Advantage (MA) plans continue to offer
significant benefits not available in Original Medicare, including
dental and vision coverage and online doctor’s visits, starting at $0

“Even with the Medicare reimbursement environment changing, we think
it’s critical to structure our plans to provide our members with real
value over Original Medicare, including extra benefits and strong local
alliances,” said John Caby, president of the company’s Medicare east

Following are some specifics on Empire MA plans that will be available
for the Annual Election Period, or AEP, which begins Oct. 15 and
continues through Dec. 7. Empire offers MA plans in lower and
west-central New York. Plans are effective Jan. 1, 2016.

New and expansion plans. Empire is expanding its MA Dual-Eligible
Special Needs plan to Orange and Nassau counties for 2016. This plan is
available for $0 premium and includes dental and vision coverage, some
transportation to doctor’s appointments and some coverage for
over-the-counter drugs, all at no extra cost. Unlike most plans, people
who qualify for a DSNP have a continuous Special Election Period, which
means they can elect to join a new plan at any time throughout the year.

Additionally, Empire is launching a traditional MA HMO in Orange County
as well as a $0 premium HMO in New York County.

Provider collaboration. To improve member health and lower member
costs, Anthem continues to implement provider collaboration agreements.
To date, Anthem has about 2,855 New York medical providers participating
in Medicare provider collaboration agreements, covering nearly 52,000 of
its members.

Online doctor’s visits. LiveHealth Online (LHO) telehealth will
continue to be available in Empire’s New York MA plans. LHO allows
members to access board-certified doctors through their computer or
mobile device, and will include a behavioral health benefit effective
Jan. 1, 2016. With this additional benefit, members can generally choose
a qualified mental health expert and schedule a counseling session in
advance to be held during available hours. (Those in crisis should call
911). Both seeing a doctor and counseling visits are available at a $0
copay to eligible members.

More $0 generics. Empire is enhancing its Medicare pharmacy
benefits in 2016. MAPD plans will feature a “Select Tier” with selected
generic drugs for a $0 copay at preferred pharmacies, including some
drugs that treat high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes.
Empire has more than 700 preferred pharmacies in New York, including
CVS/pharmacy, Hannaford, Target and Wal-Mart (Sam’s Club). Additionally,
Empire has added Sam’s Drugs, Stuarts Pharmacy and Rossi Pharmacy to its
preferred network this year.

New Plan Names. As part of its initiative of being easier to do
business with, Empire has introduced a standard nomenclature to its
affiliated MA plans. This includes Empire MediBlue Dual Advantage (HMO
SNP) for DSNPs, Empire MediBlue Plus (HMO) for most HMOs, and Empire
MediBlue Access (PPO) for PPOs.

For details about Empire Medicare plans in your area, call (855)
878-1107 or visit Empire’s Medicare online store at www.empireblue.com/shop.
Empire will be holding educational events and home visits throughout AEP.

Empire is a PPO plan an HMO plan with a Medicare contract. Enrollment
in Empire depends on contract renewal. This information is not a
complete description of benefits. Contact the plan for more information.
Limitations, copayments, and restrictions may apply. Benefits, premiums
and/or co-payments/co-insurance may change on Jan. 1 of each year. The
formulary, pharmacy network, and/or provider network may change at any
time. You will receive notice when necessary.

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.

About Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield

Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield (Empire) is the trade name of Empire
HealthChoice Assurance, Inc., and Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield HMO is
the trade name of Empire HealthChoice HMO, Inc., independent licensees
of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, serving residents and
businesses in the 28 eastern and southeastern counties of New York
State. Additional information about Empire is available at www.anthem.com.
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Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield
Doug Bennett Jr., (502) 889-2103