Medicare Beneficiaries Can Suit Up, Sweat, and Learn About Blue Shield's Medicare Advantage Plans at Local Malls and Senior Centers

Saturday, November 8, 2008 General News
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Free Fitness Events Held in Los Angeles Area Enable Medicare Beneficiaries to Choose a Medicare Plan During Annual Election Period

SAN FRANCISCO, Nov. 7 /PRNewswire/ -- Helping to keep Medicare beneficiaries healthy and active, Blue Shield of California is offering free "Fitness and Flexibility" events at Los Angeles area malls and senior centers this month. The events will offer a demonstration of one of the signature SilverSneakers exercise classes, part of Healthways' SilverSneakers(R) Fitness Program, a new benefit that Blue Shield 65 Plus and Blue Shield 65 Plus Choice Plan members in Los Angeles and Orange Counties will receive at no additional cost in 2009. Healthy refreshments, free tee shirts and water bottles will be given to participants with no obligation. Participants can also obtain information about Blue Shield's Medicare Advantage HMO plans.

The SilverSneakers classes feature stretching, resistance training, balance and aerobic exercises. According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, people of all ages gain considerable health benefits from regular physical activity, and these benefits continue throughout their lives.

"These free and fun events give Medicare beneficiaries a chance to improve their health and find a Medicare plan that meets their needs," said Karen Vigil, senior vice president & chief executive, individual, small group & government business unit at Blue Shield of California. "We offer plans with no monthly premium, deductible, or doctor visit copay, and Blue Shield's large network of doctors and great benefits help Medicare beneficiaries get more out of a Medicare Advantage HMO plan."

November 15 to December 31 is the Annual Election Period (AEP) when Medicare beneficiaries may enroll in the Medicare Advantage plan of their choice for a January 1, 2009 effective date. For those beneficiaries who chose a plan during the AEP, they can also switch to a like plan during the Open Enrollment Period (OEP), which occurs from January 1 to March 31.

Blue Shield Medicare Advantage HMO Plan Designs

A summary of Blue Shield's 2009 Medicare Advantage HMO plans in various counties, is listed below:

Blue Shield 65 Plus Choice (available in portions of Los Angeles and Orange Counties)

Blue Shield 65 Plus (available in all of Orange County and portions of Los Angeles County)

Blue Shield 65 Plus (available in portions of Riverside and San Bernardino Counties)

Fitness Events Sponsored by Blue Shield

For more information about the fitness events or Blue Shield's Medicare Advantage HMO plans, Medicare beneficiaries may call 888-228-6124 (TTY/TDD: 888-595-0000) from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., seven days a week. Persons with special needs can be accommodated.

About Blue Shield

Blue Shield of California, an independent member of the Blue Shield Association, is a not-for-profit health plan dedicated to providing Californians with access to high quality care at a reasonable price. Founded in 1939, it now has 3.4 million members, 4,700 employees, one of the largest provider networks and more than 20 office locations, providing a wide range of commercial and government products throughout the state. The company has contributed $100 million over the past three years to the Blue Shield of California Foundation to fund nonprofit organizations that improve access to quality health care in California. Contact your local agent or broker for more information about Blue Shield products and services, or visit the Blue Shield web site at

Blue Shield of California offers Medicare-approved HMOs with a Medicare Advantage-Prescription Drug Plan contract, open to all Medicare beneficiaries who reside within the plan's service area and are entitled to Part A and Part B. Minimal copayments, restrictions and limitations apply to some services. Benefits vary by plan and geographic area. Members must continue to pay their Medicare Part B premium if not otherwise paid for under Medicaid or by another third-party. Members must receive all routine care from network providers. If members receive routine care from out-of-network providers, neither Medicare nor Blue Shield will be responsible for the costs. Blue Shield has a contract with the federal government.

About the Healthways SilverSneakers(R) Fitness Program

The SilverSneakers(R) Fitness Program is offered by Healthways, an industry leader providing specialized, comprehensive Health and Care Support(SM) solutions to help people maintain or improve their health. Founded in 1992, SilverSneakers is the nation's leading exercise program designed exclusively for older adults and offers an innovative blend of physical activity, healthy lifestyle and socially-oriented programming that allows older adults to take greater control of their health. The unique program is available at no additional cost to eligible Medicare members and is currently offered in 49 states at more than 3,200 participating locations. For more information, please visit

H0504-08.205 11062008

-- $0 plan premium -- $0 deductible -- $0 doctor office visit copay -- $0 for hospital stays and outpatient surgery -- $0 for basic x-ray and basic lab services -- Part D prescription drug coverage is included -- Plan-approved brand-name, insulin and generic prescription drug coverage through the Part D Coverage Gap -- Additional health benefits, including vision care -- Basic health club membership at participating locations at no additional cost -- $0 copay for a 30-day supply of insulin and plan-approved generic drugs at an in-network preferred or other network pharmacy and a $15 copay for a 30-day supply of plan-approved brand-name drugs at an in-network preferred or other network pharmacy

SOURCE Blue Shield of California

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