Welcome to Insurance Talk. This is Cheri Martinen from Bancorp Insurance. Bancorp Insurance is an independently owned insurance agency located in beautiful La Pine, Oregon. I am here today with a very special guest, Brandy from Regence. Brandy is a local Medicare broker manager for Regence covering Northern and Central Oregon territories.
Regence is a great partner for Bancorp Insurance and we are excited about the annual election period that runs October 15th through December 7th 2023. We’re going to talk a little bit about the plans and then just a little bit about the industry and what’s going on here today. One of the first things we were talking about before we even got on the podcast was just that it’s different today than it was maybe even last year or two years ago. Some of that is stuff is more expensive. And, I think we’re seeing that everywhere, not just in healthcare. It’s getting expensive for groceries and gas and in the healthcare side, people might have been delaying care and not going to the hospital during Covid.
All of this is causing some backup in claims. There’re more claims coming through, and prescription drugs are more expensive and that does affect all of us. Whether it’s the nurses making sure that they’re getting paid adequately at St. Charles to St. Charles working with their Medicare Advantage partners, in this case Regence. Regence did a really good job this year in working with St. Charles. They were not on the naughty list that was publicly sent out to the whole world. So, thank you Regence for sticking with us there and sticking with St. Charles.
Bancorp is really happy that we still have Regence available as a really good partner and that they’re offering plans in our area. And yes, we know that things are getting more expensive, but Regence has been able to keep it pretty affordable for most of their plans. Let’s learn more about them.
Why Choose a Regence Individual Health Plan for 2024?
Yes, understandably everyone is struggling. But the point here is that Regence has strong contracts in the local network with St. Charles Hospital. So, we understand there are carrier rates increasing more than ever, hence the recent negotiations going on with St. Charles. But we do remain in network with them going into 2024. So, rest assure Regence is a solid carrier there.
In fact, the network throughout Central Oregon is strong. Regence didn’t add any plans in Central Oregon or expand into the area or surrounding areas, they really focused on trying to be consistent across the Deschutes County service area. As such, they didn’t really play with their benefits much.
What Medicare Advantage Plans are Available in Deschutes County from Regence?
Regence still offers the three HMO and two PPO plans in the Deschutes County area. A few things that they have done with the plans are overall premium reductions. They have lowered some of the copays, embedded our combined dental benefits so you no longer have those optional supplemental benefits or additional premium buy up. And, they have done a little reduction in alternative medicine benefits. But their overall value proposition is to focus on keeping members with them. Which is why providers in Deschutes County trust Regence to pay claims.
Regence believes their members get more at Regence because of their employees, customer service and the people that they work with within the organization that really care about the members.
What are the Changes for Regence Dental Plan?
So, there is no buy up for the dental plan this year, it’s just included in the Medicare Advantage plans for the HMO and PPO’s within the Regence network. It’s a combination of both preventative and comprehensive. And depending on the plan will depend on how much that annual maximum allowance will be.
Preventative benefits include things like teeth cleaning, x-rays, the annual visit. While comprehensive benefits include things like extractions, cavity fillings, and bridges.
What are the Prescription Drug Benefits for Regence?
Prescription drugs are a big topic in our area, and they are getting more expensive. While prescription drug coverages are on the top of everyones mind, Regence has done a good job of keeping the formulary pretty steady and then making sure that there are lots of options for the mailing.
In Deschutes County, prescription drug copays are as low as a zero copay, especially for tier one and two generic drugs. Regence also added preferred pharmacy benefits where they offer the lowest cost on prescription drugs. Those include popular pharmacies like Albertsons, Costco, Fred Meyer, Rite Aid, Safeway, Walgreens, and Walmart. And then they also offer the use of mail order pharmacies. Which is a convenient way to get your prescriptions delivered to your home with free shipping.
Copays for mail order prescriptions can even be less than the local pharmacy. For example, you can get up to a 100-day supply of drugs at the same copay as a 90-day supply. Saving you more money.
Then of course they have the supplemental drug coverage on the Blue Advantage HMO, which covers tier one now for things like folic acid, vitamin B 12, vitamin D and other such drugs that you can use either a preferred retail or get them through the mail order pharmacy. And, if you use insulin, you pay the $35 or less per month per insulin with no deductible at any pharmacy or supplier, even those using insulin pumps too. Regence has been working hard to make insulin more affordable.
What are the Vision Benefits on a Regence Medicare Advantage Plan?
The Regence routine vision is an extra benefit. It hasn’t changed to much from 2023 to 2024 plans. They still offer the zero annual routine vision exam. They offer the free pair of single vision line, bifocal line trifocal or the ventricular lenses up to a hundred dollars per year, for framed or contact lenses.
Can’t wait to enroll in a Regence Individual Health Plan for 2024?
Click the link below to schedule an in-person, online or telephone appointment.
What Can you Do in the Regence App?
Regence offers a pretty handy easy to use app. Within the app you can refill prescriptions for prescription drugs or eyeglasses. You can even look up places to go for the Silver and Fit program.
What is the Regence Silver and Fit Program?
Regence still offers the extra Silver and Fit benefit. Where you can find pre-standard gym memberships at thousands of different fitness centers at locations nationwide. So, you can hop between gyms or stay active as you travel.
Enjoy access to multiple gyms, unlimited access to on-demand workout videos, live streaming of fitness classes through Facebook and YouTube, and virtual health. Members can use the weekly one-on-one coaching sessions by either phone, video or chat. For no additional charge. Of course, if you want to use more of their premium gym’s selection, those are separate contracts. But it’s fairly easy to find a local gym through the Silver and Fit Program.
One change to the Silver and Fit program for 2024 is that they are not offering the Fitbit, but they do have a 30% discount if a Regence member wants to use one. This was quite popular for a while, but they’re not quite sure if everyone’s into the Fitbit culture the same way that they were in the past. But it’s nice to hear that members can still have access to those to use in gyms or the virtual classes if they want.
Personal Emergency Response System
One thing Regence is including in all of their plans again is the personal emergency response system, which is a free Medicare medical alert device. These devices are used for 24/7 assistance, where you push a button to request assistance. This device is recommended for everyone, but especially those who are prone to falls, go on hikes, or who are by themselves a lot of the time.
While these devices do have a monthly monitoring charge, but with Regence these charges are covered at hundred percent.
What is the Regence National PPO Network?
As you know, Regence has an in-network cost sharing with any participating PPO providers. The national network is solid with the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association across 48 states and including Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia. However, some providers may not be available in all the areas of the state, it’s territories or counties. Wyoming and Alaska still don’t have the Blue PPO in 2024, but the emergency room and urgent care services are there.
Then of course there is the Medicare Global Care, but that does not include the Virgin Islands. But the National PPO networks are great for those snowbirds who live in Central Oregon and then travel to say Arizona for part of the year.
To enroll in a Regence Individual Health Plan for 2024, simply request an appointment with one of our insurance agents via phone at (800) 452-6826 or on our online calendar.
NOT AFFILIATED WITH OR ENDORSED BY THE GOVERNMENT OR FEDERAL MEDICARE PROGRAM.
Bancorp Insurance represents 7 companies in Deschutes, Klamath, and Lake County for Medicare Advantage Plans. For additional information about Prescription Drug and Medicare Supplement Plans, please make an appointment with an agent. For a list of all options in your area, you may also visit Medicare.gov, Healthcare.gov or shiphelp.org, or call 1 800 MEDICARE.
(TTY users should call 1-877-486-2048), 24 hours a day/7 days a week or consult www.medicare.gov.
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Not connected with or endorsed by the U.S Government or the federal Medicare program.
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Disclaimer: This content is provided for general information purposes and is not intended to be used in place of consultation with our agents.