Blue Care Network expands Medicare Advantage service area, Blue Cross and Blue Care Network add plan options


Blues add counties, flexibility for individual members

DETROIT, Oct. 18, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and Blue Care Network continue to increase access to health care plans for Michigan's Medicare-eligible seniors and persons with disabilities. BCN added 11 new counties in its BCN AdvantageSM Michigan service area and both Blue Cross and BCN are expanding their member-friendly plan offerings.

Already servicing all Michigan counties, BCBSM has added a fourth option to its current lineup of Medicare Advantage PPO plans, which serve more than 274,000 Michigan citizens. Medicare Plus Blue PPO EssentialSM is an affordable, low-cost plan that includes Part D prescription drug coverage.

"We've been listening to our members, and many people have been asking for an economical plan that provides basic coverage. The new Essential product is our answer," said Kevin Keyser, director, Senior Markets Sales and Marketing.

BCBSM offers three other Medicare Plus Blue PPOSM plan options that include Part D coverage: Vitality, Signature and Assure. BCBSM also offers two stand-alone Part D prescription drug plans.

"We expect that our diverse product lineup will help us grow our Medicare market share next year and provide the foundation for the Blues' leadership in the growing Medicare Advantage market," said Keyser.

Already offered in 31 Michigan counties, BCN Advantage's four HMO-POS plans will now extend to additional areas throughout Michigan's Thumb region and in the northern portion of the state. The 11 new counties are: Clare, Crawford, Gladwin, Grand Traverse, Huron, Isabella, Kalkaska, Mecosta, Missaukee, Roscommon and Sanilac.

"Medicare beneficiaries in those counties can now meet their coverage needs with BCN Advantage, and that's a huge plus for them," says BCN Government Programs director Betsy Geis.

Three BCN Advantage HMO-POSSM plan options, Basic, Classic and Prestige, include Part D prescription drug coverage. The Elements HMO-POS plan option covers medical only and is ideal for individuals who already have creditable prescription drug coverage. Combined, BCN Advantage covers more than 47,000 Michigan residents through its HMO-POS plans.

BCN Advantage is also adding a new HMO plan called Focus for Wayne County residents only. Focus is an affordable plan designed for the county's diverse neighborhoods.

In addition, BCN Advantage members will now be able to "buy up" to more comprehensive dental and vision benefits for a modest additional premium. Members will receive partial coverage on restorative services such as fillings, root canals, crowns and crown repairs. They'll also get an allowance for frames and lenses to improve their vision health.

"The mission of our Medicare Advantage programs is to make health care coverage more available, accessible and affordable," says Geis. "By expanding into other areas of the state and adding new coverage options, we're fulfilling that mission and meeting the needs of some of Michigan's most vulnerable residents."

The Blues continue to provide quality Medicare Advantage plans as shown by their new ratings from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. BCBSM's Medicare Plus Blue PPO earned a 3.5 star rating, and BCN's BCN Advantage HMO-POS earned a 4.5 star rating (out of 5 stars).

CMS rates how well Medicare Advantage plans perform on 51 different elements under five broad categories (for example, detecting and preventing illness, rating from patients, patient safety and customer service).

BCN Advantage HMO-POSSM, BCN Advantage HMOSM and Medicare Plus Blue PPOSM are health plans with Medicare contracts. Prescription Blue PDPSM is a stand-alone prescription drug plan with a Medicare contract. BCN Advantage, Prescription BlueSM and Medicare Plus BlueSM are open to all individuals eligible for Medicare residing in their respective service areas. Members must be entitled to Medicare Part A and enrolled in Part B. Enrolled BCN Advantage members must use network providers for routine care.

Plan performance Star Ratings are assessed each year and may change from one year to the next.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, a nonprofit organization, provides and administers health benefits to 4.4 million members residing in Michigan in addition to members of Michigan-headquartered groups who reside outside the state. The company offers a broad variety of plans including Community BlueSM, Simply BlueSM and Healthy Blue IncentivesSM PPOs; Blue Care Network HMO; BCN Healthy Blue LivingSM; Flexible BlueSM plans compatible with health savings accounts; Medicare Advantage; Part D Prescription Drug plans; and MyBlueSM products in the under-age-65 individual market. BCBSM also offers dental, vision and hearing plans. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and Blue Care Network are nonprofit corporations and independent licensees of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. For more company information, visit

SOURCE Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan