Regence Expands Hours on Medicare Part D Deadline Day

Statewide Offices to Remain Open Until 7 p.m. to Assist Seniors

May 12, 2006, 01:00 ET from Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Oregon

    PORTLAND, Ore., May 12 /PRNewswire/ -- As the deadline looms for
 seniors to enroll in the Medicare Prescription Drug Plan (Medicare Part D),
 Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Oregon has announced its three offices will
 remain open later than normal on Monday to assist those who have not yet
     "Education and outreach is necessary to ensure people understand their
 options and the consequences of not enrolling by the initial May 15
 deadline," said Alison Nicholson, manager of Individual Sales. "It is our
 goal to provide as much outreach as possible so seniors know what their
 options are."
     The company's doors will remain open until 7 p.m. local time Monday in
 Portland, Salem and Medford. Knowledgeable staff members will be present at
 all locations to assist seniors in enrollment.
     Nicholson said surveys show 45 percent of seniors aren't aware of the
 May 15 deadline and 53 percent of elderly Americans are unaware that they
 face a financial penalty if they delay. The penalty is a 1 percent increase
 in monthly premiums for each month of late enrollment.
     Prescription medications are a key driver of rising health care costs,
 Nicholson said, and Part D is the only federal program that saves people
 money on their medications.
     Nicholson said there are some important points seniors should consider
 when thinking about enrolling. Anyone who is currently spending more than
 $600 a year on prescriptions and does not have good coverage through
 another plan should sign up for Medicare Part D. Additionally, seniors
 should think about their future needs. If seniors spend between $300 and
 $600 on prescriptions, they should still sign up because those costs may go
 up in the future due to an unforeseen injury or illness.
     Locations in Oregon that will remain open until 7 p.m. local time include:
     -- Portland, 100 SW Market Street
     -- Salem, 201 High Street SE
     -- Medford, 2057 Commerce Drive
     Additionally, those interested in learning more can call 1-888-REGENCE
 (1-888-734-3623). Assistance on the phone is available Monday-Friday from 8
 a.m. to 5 p.m. Pacific Time.
     About Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Oregon
     Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Oregon provides medical, dental and
 related coverage for about one million members in Oregon and in Clark
 County, Washington. It's part of the Regence Group, the largest affiliation
 of health plans in the northwest and intermountain states, collectively
 covering nearly three million people. The Regence Group and its affiliates
 are not-for-profit independent licensees of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield
 Association. Nearly one in three Americans has health care coverage through
 Blue Plans. For more information, visit

SOURCE Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Oregon