MERIDIAN, Idaho--()--Although only 13 other states enjoy higher Medicare Advantage participation rates than Idaho, more than 70 percent of Gem State residents who are eligible to enroll do not actually opt in despite compelling advantages.
“It doesn’t pay for everything — there are significant costs you as a patient must pay with Original Medicare.”
While some folks are unaware of Medicare Advantage or think they simply can’t afford it, Blue Cross of Idaho says the lion’s share of those who don’t enroll either do not recognize the value or find the sign-up process confusing. Regardless, the state’s leading health insurance provider says the financial consequences of not having a Medicare Advantage plan can be devastating.
“Many people don’t realize there are huge gaps with Original Medicare,” Karen Early, Blue Cross of Idaho’s director of corporate communications, says. “It doesn’t pay for everything — there are significant costs you as a patient must pay with Original Medicare.”
For instance, Early says you are responsible for paying all deductibles and coinsurance with Original Medicare. In addition, she says you must pay for any gaps in coverage, including Part D prescription drug coverage, routine vision exams, emergency services outside the United States, and other services.
“Original Medicare has no limit on out-of-pocket spending,” Early says. “That means without enrolling in a Medicare Advantage plan you could face a huge medical bill if something catastrophic happens to you.”
In addition to building awareness about the benefits of Medicare Advantage plans, Blue Cross of Idaho is seeking to make the enrollment process less daunting by hosting a series of free seminars statewide during this year’s open enrollment period Oct. 15-Dec. 7. Early says representatives will be on hand at the events to help participants make more informed healthcare decisions and navigate Original Medicare and Medicare Advantage.
Seminars slated for 2012 include:
• Coeur d’Alene — Oct. 18, Oct. 25, Nov. 1, Nov. 8, Nov. 15, Nov. 29, and Dec. 6 at 10 a.m. at the AmeriTel Inn at 333 Ironwood Ave.
• Idaho Falls — Oct. 17, Oct. 31, and Nov. 14 at 10 a.m. at the Hampton Inn at 2500 Channing Way.
• Meridian — Oct. 22, Oct. 29, Nov. 5, Nov. 12, Nov. 19, Nov. 26, and Dec. 3 at 10 a.m. at Blue Cross of Idaho’s headquarters at 3000 E. Pine Ave.
• Nampa — Oct. 30, Nov. 13, Nov. 20, and Dec. 4 at 10 a.m. at the Nampa Civic Center at 311 3rd St. S.
• Pocatello — Oct. 19, Oct. 26, Nov. 6, Nov. 30, and Dec. 5 at 10 a.m. at the Clarion Inn at 1399 Pocatello Bench Rd.
Those interested in attending one of the free seminars can register seven days a week between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. by calling toll-free 1-888-492-2583, or TTY 1-800-377-1363 for the hearing impaired. Or register online at www.bcidaho.com/medicare.
About Blue Cross of Idaho
Blue Cross of Idaho, a not-for-profit mutual insurance company, is a leader in delivering innovative health insurance products, services and information to more than 650,000 members. For 66 years, the company has served its customers by offering health insurance at a competitive price and has served the people of Idaho through support of community organizations, programs and events that promote good health. Blue Cross of Idaho is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. Visit bcidaho.com for more information.