PHOENIX, Oct. 5, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Nearly 75,000 Arizonans will turn 65 this year and become Medicare eligible. As many are starting to review their options to identify the right Medicare plan, research shows that 30 percent of older adults delay shopping for Medicare coverage when they are first eligible*, roughly three months before their 65th birthday. Whether aging-in or looking for a new Medicare plan, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona (BCBSAZ) and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona Advantage (BCBSAZ Advantage) urge Arizonans to take action sooner rather than later.
There are many options when it comes to Medicare. To help weigh and evaluate 2018 Medicare plans, consider these three things: ask the right questions, consult an expert and remember key dates.
Ask the Right Questions To make the best decision for future care, review each plan carefully to ensure the network and benefits are a good match. Start by asking the following questions:
Have your health needs changed?
What are the costs associated with the plan – including deductibles, premiums, copays and out-of-pocket?
Is your doctor in the plan's network?
Will your prescription drugs be covered and are there limits?
Which medical services are most important to you and are they covered?
Have you received and reviewed your Annual Notice of Change letter?
Does your plan include access to wellness programs or fitness discounts?
Look for benefits like those offered through BCBSAZ Advantage's Medicare Advantage plans such as Silver&Fit that provide free access to fitness facilities and specialized exercise classes, or TruHearing®, which allows for a hearing exam, fittings, evaluations and two hearings aids per calendar year at low copayments.**
Additionally, find out if the plan offers any household discounts. In 2018 BCBSAZ Medicare Supplement plans will offer a Household Discount which allows two or more Medicare Supplement members living in the same household to receive a 5 percent discount on their premium.***
Consult an Expert There are many knowledgeable professionals available to help review plan choices and answer questions. For example, there are 800 Medicare brokers in Arizona who will schedule face-to-face meetings, including some that will make in-home appointments.
Consider visiting a dedicated service center that offers informational seminars and one-on-one consultations. For BCBSAZ and BCBSAZ Advantage Medicare locations, as well as appointment times and seminar topics, go to Azblue.com/seniors. For more information about our Medicare benefits and plans, enrollees can call 1-(888) 288-0019 (toll-free) or 711 (TTY) daily from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Remember the Key Dates Each year Medicare Open Enrollment takes place from October 15 to December 7. This should not be confused with the Affordable Care Act Open Enrollment for individuals, which starts in November.
No matter if this is the first time enrolling or the fifth, take the time to learn about eligibility, plan options and Medicare changes. Start by visiting Medicare.gov.
About Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona (BCBSAZ) is committed to helping Arizonans get healthier faster and stay healthier longer. With a focus on connecting people with the care they need, BCBSAZ offers health insurance and related services to nearly 1.5 million customers. BCBSAZ, a not-for-profit company, is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association. The company employs nearly 1,500 people in its Phoenix, Chandler, Flagstaff and Tucson offices. Through advanced clinical programs and community outreach, BCBSAZ is moving health forward. BCBSAZ Advantage is a joint venture between Banner Health and BCBSAZ to sell Medicare products. BCBSAZ Advantage provides all-in-one Medicare Advantage plans with medical and prescription drug coverage to members in Maricopa and Pima counties and select zip codes in Pinal County. To learn more, visit azblue.com.
*Deft Research. BCBSAZ purchases the studies as part of a syndicated research series. 2017 Medicare Age-In Study, July 2017, page 48. Deft 2017 Medicare Age in Study is not endorsed by Medicare.
**The Silver&Fit program is provided by American Specialty Health Fitness, Inc., a subsidiary of American Specialty Health Incorporated (ASH). ASH is an independent and separate company contracted with BCBSAZ to provide health and wellness services to BCBSAZ members. The Silver&Fit program is not an insurance policy and does not provide insurance coverage. The relationship between Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona Advantage (BCBSAZ Advantage) and TruHearing is that of independent contractors. TruHearing is an independent and separate company contracted with BCBSAZ to provide hearing services, hearing aids and related accessories to BCBSAZ members.
***Medicare Supplement Household discount does not apply to those living in an assisted living facility. Members must sign an attestation form confirming they have the same address. You are eligible to enroll in a BCBSAZ Medicare Supplement plan if you are age 65 or older, entitled to Medicare Part A, enrolled in Medicare Part B, and you live in the plan service area. You must continue to pay your Medicare Part B premiums (and Part A, if applicable), if not otherwise paid for by Medicaid or another third party. During the first six months when you are age 65 and also enrolled in Medicare Parts A & B you cannot be denied a Medicare Supplement plan when you apply for one, regardless of health status. If you apply outside of this timeframe, you may be subject to medical underwriting.
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 January 1 of each year.
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona Advantage (HMO) is an HMO plan with a Medicare contract. Enrollment in Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona Advantage depends on contract renewal. Blue MedicareRxSM (PDP) is a Prescription Drug Plan with a Medicare contract. Enrollment in Blue MedicareRx depends on contract renewal.