Empire BlueCross 'Online Store' Caters to Baby Boomers Looking for Medicare Plans

Oct 06, 2010, 16:29 ET from Empire BlueCross

ALBANY, N.Y., Oct. 6 /PRNewswire/ -- Baby Boomers have redefined everything. Now it's time for them to redefine how people shop for Medicare plan offerings by going online. Empire BlueCross wants to help.

Seventy-six million Baby Boomers were born between 1945 and 1964. The first of the Boomers are now becoming Medicare eligible. These consumers are more comfortable going online than their predecessors, according to Krista Bowers, senior vice president of Empire's senior division.

As a result, Empire BlueCross has launched a new "online store" featuring Medicare health care plans. "We know an increasing number of Baby Boomers are searching the Internet for information as well as for goods and services," Bowers said. "It was our goal to create an online experience with health care that mirrors what they might see at retail shopping sites."

Mark Wagar, president and CEO of Empire, added, "Medicare can be a very complicated topic. We wanted to simplify it. The best thing about an online experience is visitors can spend as much time as they'd like learning about our Medicare products."

The store can be accessed at www.empireblue.com/shop.

There are two main paths in the online store. The "quick quote" is for those who may have already done their research. They can plug in a little information about themselves and quickly get information on a number of Empire BlueCross's Medicare products. The other path is found under the "Help Me Choose" button. It is for people who may not have done as much research. They can click into this path and spend more time learning about the various plans.

Both paths incorporate a variety of tools, including the following:

  • A tool that allows visitors to enter their prescription drugs, including quantity and frequency, and get a personalized report on which of Empire BlueCross's plans cover their drugs. This tool also suggests lower cost drug alternatives.
  • A tool in which visitors can enter their hospitals and physicians to see which plan networks include their providers.
  • A sliding scale tool that users can maneuver to see the tradeoffs between premiums and benefits.

The online store processes the information that the user provides to produce a list of Medicare plans that best match their personal preferences. Users can save their preferences in case they'd like to return to the site later.

Brokers also can use the store to assist their clients.

The online store will continue to be refined based on user feedback.

Empire BlueCross

Empire BlueCross is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. Services provided by Empire HealthChoice HMO, Inc. and/or Empire HealthChoice Assurance, Inc., licensees of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, an association of independent Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans.

SOURCE Empire BlueCross