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Insurance Talk — Regence Medicare Supplement
This week on Insurance Talk, your host Cheri Martinen, one part of the father-daughter team from Bancorp insurance, located in beautiful Central Oregon, speaks with Dara Smith from Regence Blue Cross Blue Shield. Dara did another show with us earlier about their Medicare Advantage product and today we’re going to talk about their Medicare supplement.
On earlier shows, we talked about the difference between a Medicare Advantage and a Medicare supplement. For a quick overview, a lot of times, if you have a supplement on your card there is going to be a letter, so it might be an F or a G or a K or an N and that’s a good way to know what kind of plan you have with your supplement. And also you might have a little bit open, more open network for your doctors. Maybe you travel and that’s why your agent has suggested that you pick a supplement. That’s one of the benefits of it, anyway.
Dara Smith leads the Medicare Product and Sales Teams here in the state of Oregon and the three other states that Regence serves in the region. Dara wants to let everybody know that in addition to the Medicare Advantage plans that Regence is offering a new Medicare Advantage plan here in Deschutes County. Regence will continue to offer its Medicare Supplement plans that cover costs beyond original Medicare and that’s in conjunction with a prescription drug plan for those who want to add prescription drug coverage to the Medicare supplement.
Regence is committed to Oregon
One of the things that we like about Regence is that they’re here in Oregon and they’re committed to Oregon. I think we talked about it earlier, but I’d love to mention in this show again what you guys have to offer here and why you’re such a big deal.
Regence Blue Cross Blue Shield is the state’s largest health insurer and we are committed to making care simpler, better, and more affordable for Oregonians. They have served Oregon’s communities for nearly 80 years and have invested millions of dollars in local organizations that are working to improve health outcomes and access across our States. In addition to that, Regence employees are committed to giving back to Oregon. They have many different organizations that their employees serve in communities by volunteering and they have quite a few hours accumulated here amongst employees.
Dara volunteers at the Oregon Food Bank. She and her children just planted gardens over there and were actually able to help people learn that they can grow healthy food and it’s pretty low cost to do that. They were really excited to be able to take home some of the harvest.
Regence Blue Cross Blue Shield Medicare Supplement Plans
Regence supplements have been in our area and we’ve been selling them for quite a while. Medicare Advantage is new for our area, but we talked about last time that you’re committed to staying. I’m not expecting to see the supplements go anywhere either.
Regence knows that people have very different needs when selecting Medicare options and so they are committed to providing a portfolio of options for people to consider. They are proud to be more than just a typical health insurance company. They’re offering innovations and new technologies that help members manage their care from:
- What are my health insurance options?
- How can I manage my care?
- How can I make an appointment with my doctor?
- How can I use my ID card and see my ID card and my member number?
- How can I sign up for the Medicare Advantage plans?
- How can I find a provider within the network when it comes to MedSup?
Regence members need to know that they have access to all the information that they need to manage their plan right in their pocket if they have a smartphone.
One of the things that I like about Regence is that they’re always up with the times and making sure that they’re staying up with the consumer and making it easy, making it easy for us to shop or making it easy to make sure that you’ve got your ID card.
Every year Regence spends time out in their different communities talking to people who are Medicare eligible. They hold focus groups to understand what is on the minds of people as they’re entering Medicare age and they incorporate that feedback into the upcoming year’s plan designs. Everything from, ‘I want to be able to access my ID card differently’ to things like ‘I want to be able to use MD live’ in order to have a telemedicine visit. Those are all things that Regence has heard from what their consumers and they’ve solved for those.
Regence Medicare Supplement Advantages
With Medicare supplements, we like to see people on their birthday a lot of times so that they can switch without going through medical underwriting. If you’re like, Hmm, I want to shop my Medicare supplement and maybe moved to Regence on your birthday month would be a good time to schedule an appointment. Talking about that, you guys have a lot of really neat things with your Medicare supplement that we don’t see other places.
In a community like Deschutes County where everybody is so healthy and constantly on the go, they offer a free Silver and Fit program membership. It’s included within all Regence Medigap plans and what it does is allow members to improve their health, stay fit and really socialize with their friends. It is transferable within participating fitness centers. They have a total of 14,000 gyms across the whole country, so clients can gym hop as often as they’d like or continue their fitness program when traveling or visiting friends out of town. In addition, two home fitness kits are available per year if people like the option of being able to do yoga or Zumba or something at home.
Silver and Fit is really, really cool, you guys, and we don’t see this as a benefit on a supplement or a Medigap plan very often, so throwing that in is really neat. A lot of times the prices are pretty comparable so that in itself, you’re saving money on the gym and you can gym hop. The great thing about having a supplement and what a lot of people like about it is if you’re traveling or you might have a second home somewhere really warm in the winter, you can still go to your local gym and you don’t have to worry about the cost of it. Your Medicare plan with Regence Blue Cross Blue Shield is going to be there and there are 14,000 different gyms included within the network.
Regence wants people to be able to do that in order to manage their health, which is really important for people of all ages, particularly for seniors. Regence includes discounts for all members, connecting them with great values and savings with leading health-related companies. They have a Jenny Craig program included, discounts at Banfield Hospital and things people are really looking to get discounts on. Having that included within your Regence coverage is something they feel very strongly about and want to continue to support.
Manage Your Health Better
We know that when people live with another individual in their household, they are going to be healthier because they’re going to be taking care of each other. Sometimes people might get a little lax with, you know, their preventative screenings or keeping up with their doctor’s appointments. And so we feel very strongly that having people who live with another, with a spouse or domestic partner of any age, Regence wants to give them a discount for joining their plan because they’re going to manage their health better. Regence has householder discounts included with Medicare supplement plans. This is a great way for a couple to join Regence and save a whole lot of money each month.
Regence Supplement Riders
Most of the time dental, vision and hearing are not included in your original Medicare plan. Medicare doesn’t cover it. So a supplement most of the time does not have it either. But Regence is super unique that they offer this rider so you can buy the supplement and then buy this as well. You get dental, vision and hearing altogether on one plan.
For a monthly premium of $44 it’s a really good deal. It’s super affordable. We know that a lot of people who are aging into Medicare like Medicare supplement as their first entree into coming out of commercial coverage or individual coverage. They’re used to having dental and vision benefits included in what they get from their employer. And so we wanted to offer up this at a very discounted price. We also know that taking care of your teeth and taking care of your eyes is instrumental to an overall healthy person. We want to make sure that people are getting these regular screenings and keeping themselves healthy overall.
You might be thinking, ‘Oh gosh, $44 a month,’ but a dental plan by itself can be that. So getting all three in one is a huge benefit if you decide to go with Regence Blue Cross Blue Shield. For a monthly premium, you can get all three of those different types of care included and they feel there is a big differentiator here with dental coverage because it does include preventative and diagnostic services, including x-rays and that sort of thing. Also, basic services like endodontics, periodontics and fillings, but then also major services like crowns, implants, bridges and dentures.
This is you know really really different from what we are seeing out there in the market and we feel like it’s a really good way for people to manage their overall health. In addition, they have the VSP network which is Vision Service Plan and people are who have this coverage are able to have a routine vision exam covered at 100% in addition lenses covered at 100% and $100 towards frames and contacts.
Hearing is another important aspect of this benefits rider. Regence knows that people who face hearing issues often isolate themselves and you know withdrawal from social settings because they can’t hear and they want to really help with that. They partnered with a company called True Hearing where they give significant discounts for hearing aids. There are different variations depending on your needs and fittings and an exam are included within that. So a really good way to manage your overall health in addition to your drug and your medical expenses. These are really important coverages that we feel like people who are Medicare-eligible should take advantage of.
You’re probably wondering why Regence? What really differentiates it from all the different options that you have? When it comes to Medicare, it starts with their customer service. They have a human voice to connect with. Regence customer service professionals are all available by phone, email and online to help members in any way they need help and their customer service is local. It is located in Medford, Oregon. They have a group of exceptional individuals who are based there and they really go above and beyond in serving members’ needs. They know Oregon, they’re Oregonians.
Get to Know More About Regence
If you’re interested in learning more about them, they actually have a local event coming up on November 20th at Bend Memorial Clinic. If you’re interested in Regence and you want to learn more, this might be a really good chance to kind of talk to people in a very low key environment and learn what might be a really great switch for you.
If you’re interested in purchasing Regence Blue Cross Blue Shield for your Medicare needs, give Bancorp Insurance a call at 800-452-6826.