BlueCross BlueShield expanding state Medicare coverage

Columbia-based BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina will offer Medicare Advantage coverage in 23 counties beginning this month. The coverage will take effect Jan. 1, 2018.

Medicare Advantage plans cover extra benefits that traditional Medicare doesn’t, such as dental work.

While a preferred provider organization (PPO) product will be offered in 23 counties, customers in Richland and Greenville will have the option to purchase either a PPO or a health maintenance organization (HMO) product. The lower-cost HMO option is available with provider networks that include Palmetto Health System and Greenville Health System.

“We wanted to ensure that we had a provider network that was dedicated to high-quality, coordinated care for our members, and that we could offer a wide range of benefits while being as sensitive to price as possible,” Don Edwards, assistant vice president for Medicare Advantage services at BlueCross, said in a release. “We are excited about what we can offer.”

Offerings for both products include a prescription drug plan and low-priced copayments for primary care, along with a variety of services including lab tests, X-rays, outpatient surgery, specialist and urgent care. Members are also eligible for a dental and vision allowance, diabetic supplies and wellness benefits from national companies.

More than 100 community meetings with licensed sales agents are scheduled throughout the state and at BlueCross retail centers in Columbia, Greenville and Mount Pleasant. These meetings will occur throughout open enrollment, which ends Dec. 7.

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