Expansion of Medicare Advantage Business Is One of WellPoint’s Biggest Ever

INDIANAPOLIS, IN – WellPoint affiliated plans are adding Medicare Advantage (MA) products in 136 counties in 11 states this year, encompassing a population of more than 1 million people eligible for Medicare.

MA plans incorporate Medicare Parts A (hospital) and B (medical) into one convenient product that may include additional benefits. Part D also can be added for drug coverage (MAPD). More than 12 million people across the country have a MA plan, according to America’s Health Insurance Plans.

“We’re very excited to get approval from the Centers for Medicaid & Medicare Services for this expansion, which is one of our biggest ever,” said Julie G. Smith, a vice president in WellPoint’s senior business. “These plans will help provide people eligible for Medicare with more choices for their health care within their respective markets.”

As a result of the expansion, Medicare eligibles in 74 counties in six states will have access to a WellPoint affiliated health plan for the very first time. The largest expansions to new counties are occurring in Georgia, Missouri, Virginia and Wisconsin. Premiums vary by geography, including some $0 premium plans. Additionally, people in many counties that were already served by WellPoint affiliated plans will have access to new products. For example, they may have access to a WellPoint local PPO or HMO plan for the very first time.

The products are being sold during the 2011 plan Annual Election Period (AEP), which runs from Oct. 15 to Dec. 7 this year, with an effective date of Jan. 1, 2012. Also during AEP, the WellPoint affiliated plans are offering Optional Supplemental Benefits (OSBs) in 12 states. OSBs cover additional services that may not be covered in the member’s Medicare Advantage health plan, such as dental, vision, chiropractic services and acupuncture. Medicare beneficiaries can enroll in an optional supplemental benefit package when they enroll in their 2012 MAPD or for up to 90 days after their plan effective date. OSBs require an additional premium.

“Baby Boomers are aging into Medicare with many interests and goals,” Smith said. “We’re developing products like OSBs to give them a variety of choices.”

In addition to MA and MAPD plans and OSBs, WellPoint affiliated plans offer Medicare Supplement plans with extra benefits available for purchase called “Anthem Extras.” Medicare has neither reviewed nor endorsed this information. Benefits and premium may change on January 1, 2013. The benefit information provided herein is a brief summary, not a comprehensive description of benefits. For more information contact the plan.

Source: WellPoint, Inc.

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