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Empire BlueCross and Empire BlueCross BlueShield and Walmart Collaborate to Give Consumers Increased Access to Everyday Health-Related Products

November 13, 2018

ALBANY, N.Y.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Nov 13, 2018--Empire BlueCross and Empire BlueCross BlueShield (Empire) will be working with Walmart to give 2019 Medicare Advantage (MA) plan consumers the ability to purchase over-the-counter (OTC) medications and health-related products through Walmart’s multiple shopping options, including in-store and online, using the OTC allowance available through many of its MA plans.

“Empire strives to develop meaningful products and solutions that create a better healthcare experience for our consumers as well as improve their health and well-being,” said Tomas Orozco, President of the company’s Medicare East Region. “This initiative combines Empire’s deep understanding of the needs of older adults with Walmart’s unwavering commitment to saving people money and developing a seamless shopping experience. We believe this agreement can make a significant difference for Medicare-eligible consumers who often live on a fixed income, manage chronic conditions, or both.”

Empire will also significantly increase the OTC allowance for many of its 2019 Medicare Advantage health plans to as much as $80 per month. Individuals enrolled in Empire’s 2019 Medicare Advantage plans will be able to use this increased benefit to purchase OTC medications and health-related products, such as first aid supplies, support braces, and pain relievers.

The Empire-Walmart program, launching in January 2019, and the increased OTC allowance are expected to reduce healthcare costs for individuals because both will help give consumers the ability to purchase more items through their health plan benefits since Walmart is dedicated to offering products at low prices. This may lead individuals in Empire’s MA plans to buy fewer items on their own.

This collaboration is also designed to give people improved access to health-related products covered under Empire’s MA plans since more than 90 percent of Americans live within ten miles of Walmart’s more than 4,700 stores. Individuals have the option of shipping purchased items to their home or a nearby store when they shop on Walmart.com or use an app designed for this program.

These types of benefits can be important to older adults who seek more value for their money. According to the Social Security Administration, nearly a quarter of married seniors and four out of 10 unmarried older adults rely on their Social Security benefit, which averages just over $1,400 a month, for at least 90 percent of their income.

The following 2019 Empire Medicare Advantage health plans will have an over-the-counter allowance at the amounts shown for individuals to purchase OTC items:

Empire MediBlue Plus (HMO): Up to $15 per quarter, and unused amounts may roll over to the next quarter but not calendar year Empire MediBlue Select (HMO): Up to $36 per quarter, and unused amounts may roll over to the next quarter but not calendar year Empire MediBlue Choice (HMO-POS): $15 per quarter Empire MediBlue Dual Advantage (HMO SNP): Up to $200 per quarter, and unused amounts may roll over to the next quarter but not calendar year Empire MediBlue Dual Advantage Select (HMO SNP): $80 per month Empire MediBlue Access (PPO): $18 per quarter, and unused amounts may roll over to the next quarter but not calendar year

Empire believes consumers will see the value in shopping at Walmart to purchase the health-related products covered under their health plans – given the retailer’s commitment to value – but if an individual wants to use a different retailer, the company will have other shopping choices available that may better meet his/her needs.

For details about Empire’s Medicare plans, consumers can call (855) 878-1107, which is available 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday, April 1 to Sept. 30; and 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. seven days a week, Oct. 1 to March 31. Consumers can also visit the company’s online store at https://shop.empireblue.com/medicare.

Empire BlueCross is an HMO plan with a Medicare contract. Empire BlueCross is an HMO DSNP plan with a Medicare contract and a coordination of benefits agreement with the New York State Department of Health. Empire BlueCross is an LPPO plan with a Medicare contract. Enrollment in Empire BlueCross depends on contract renewal. This information is not a complete description of benefits. Contact the plan for more information. We do not discriminate, exclude people, or treat them differently on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age or disability in our health programs and activities. 注意:如果您使用繁體中文,您可以免費獲得語言援助服務。請致電1-888-230-7338(TTY:711)。 ATENCIÓN: Si habla español, tiene a su disposición servicios gratuitos de asistencia lingüística. Llame al 1-888-230-7338 (TTY: 711). This plan is available to anyone who has both Medical Assistance from the State and Medicare. Other providers are available in our network. The provider network may change at any time. You will receive notice when necessary.

About Empire BlueCross and Empire BlueCross BlueShield

Empire BlueCross (Empire) is the trade name of Empire HealthChoice Assurance, Inc. and Empire BlueCross HMO is the trade name of Empire HealthChoice HMO, Inc. independent licensees of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, serving residents and businesses in the 28 eastern and southeastern counties of New York State. Additional information about Empire is available at www.empireblue.com. Also, follow us on Twitter at https://twitter.com/EmpireBCBS and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/EmpireBlueCrossBlueShield.

View source version on businesswire.com:https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20181113005100/en/

CONTACT: Empire BlueCross

Hieu Nguyen, 202-510-8848

hieu.nguyen2@anthem.com

KEYWORD: NEW YORK NORTH AMERICA UNITED STATES

INDUSTRY KEYWORD: MANAGED CARE GENERAL HEALTH MEDICAL SUPPLIES CONSUMER RETAIL INSURANCE PROFESSIONAL SERVICES HEALTH DISCOUNT/VARIETY SENIORS

SOURCE: Empire BlueCross

Copyright Business Wire 2018.

PUB: 11/13/2018 07:05 AM/DISC: 11/13/2018 07:05 AM

http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20181113005100/en

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