Blue Cross Offers Medicare Beneficiaries Face-to-Face Online Doctor Visits with New Extra Benefits

Oct. 15, 2019

BATON ROUGE – Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana today announced the addition of new supplemental benefits to their 2020 Medicare Advantage products including telehealth, over-the-counter supplies and wellness incentives.

Blue Cross offers the Medicare Advantage plans Blue Advantage (HMO) and Blue Advantage (PPO) to individuals across the state, plus Group Medicare Advantage plans for employers. These new supplemental benefits will become available to Blue Advantage members January 1, 2020.

Driving the Adoption of Telehealth
This year, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) finalized policies that increase the plan choices and benefits, including allowing Medicare Advantage plans to offer telehealth. In the Final Rule published April 5, 2019, CMS Administrator Seema Verma said,

“Today’s policies represent a historic step in bringing innovative technology to Medicare beneficiaries. With these new telehealth benefits, Medicare Advantage enrollees will be able to access the latest technology … [and] can receive more benefits, at lower costs and better quality.”

More than half of seniors polled by American Well say they will use virtual health visits and look forward to quicker service along with cost savings. The survey also revealed that 45 percent of seniors are familiar with video-call technology like FaceTime or Skype.

Currently, the Federal Communications Commission is proposing a three-year Connected Care Pilot program with a $100 million budget that would help drive telehealth options for low-income residents and veterans.

“We’ve been offering our BlueCare telehealth benefit to our under 65 members since 2016,” said Sheldon Faulk, SVP, COO of Government Business at Blue Cross. “We’re so pleased to have the opportunity to extend this innovative technology platform to our Medicare Advantage population, too. And, these members can visit a Primary Care Provider through BlueCare virtually or at a doctor’s office at no cost. This is a great step in leveraging the latest in technology to help support improved health outcomes.” 

Additional Extra Benefits
Along with doctor visits, including the new telehealth benefit, hospital stays, prescription drugs, dental, vision, hearing and fitness, 2020 Blue Advantage members will also receive: 

  • Over-the-Counter Allowance:  $200 per year for over-the-counter supplies including pain relievers, dental and denture care, first aid, vitamins, allergy and cold, skin care, eye care and more.
  • Meal Delivery:  Home meal delivery for five days after each in-patient hospital stay.
  • Wellness Incentives:  Up to $50 in gift cards for completing approved wellness activities each year.  

“Getting our members access to top-notch healthcare and encouraging them to stay well and thrive is the most important thing we do each and every day,” Faulk added.

About Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana is committed to our mission to improve the health and lives of Louisianians. We invest both time and money in the communities we serve, supporting the health and well-being of Louisianians through more than 200 charitable organizations.

With our subsidiaries, HMO Louisiana and Southern National Life, we provide group and individual health insurance plans, life and disability insurance, group voluntary products and administrative services to one out of four Louisiana residents. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana also provides Medicare supplement and Medicare Advantage plans and is a partner in offering the Healthy Blue Medicaid Managed care plan. Louisiana is the only state where we operate, with offices in every major region to serve our customers..

Founded in New Orleans in 1934, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana is a tax-paying non-profit health insurer. We are a private mutual company, owned by our policyholders, with an independent Louisiana Board of Directors and no shareholders. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association..

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana HMO offers Blue Advantage (HMO). Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana, incorporated as Louisiana Health Service & Indemnity Co., offers Blue Advantage (PPO). Both are independent licensees of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.

Blue Advantage from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana HMO is an HMO plan with a Medicare contract. Blue Advantage from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana is a PPO plan with a Medicare contract. Enrollment in either Blue Advantage plan depends on contract renewal.