Blue Cross C Plus – Medicare Advantage Or Medicare Supplement?

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Alabama Blue Cross C PlusAre Blue Cross C Plus and Medicare Part C one and the same?

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama isn’t helping to make Medicare plan choices any easier to understand.

Many people are used to hearing Medicare Advantage referred to as Medicare Part C but what is Blue Cross C Plus?

Is it a beefed up Medicare Advantage Plan? Or is it just an attempt by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama to make a unique brand out of a product that is standardized across the insurance industry?

The confusion is evident when people who have purchased C Plus are asked what type of Medicare plan they have; an Advantage Plan or a Medicare supplement. Often the answer is, “I have C Plus”. Many people don’t know the difference between a Medicare Advantage Plan and a Medicare supplement.

A Medicare Advantage Plan is also referred to as Part C and is offered by private insurance companies approved by Medicare. The insurance company is contracted to provide your Medicare benefits in return for a fixed payment from Medicare.

Often Advantage plans are PPO or HMO plans and may offer additional benefits beyond original Medicare such as dental and vision. Many Advantage Plans include Part D drug coverage.

A Medicare Supplement or Medigap policy is also offered by a private insurance company but rather than receiving a payment from Medicare, the premiums are paid by the insured.

A Medigap policy fills in the gaps of Medicare covered expenses. These gaps include the Part A deductible, Part B deducible and coinsurance.

Supplements are standardized plans and benefits are the same no matter which company you choose. Medicare supplement policies do not include Part D benefits and must be purchased separately.

Two C Plus Choices

C Plus is a type of Medicare supplement called a Medicare Select Plan. A Medicare Select Plan requires the use of network providers. The vast majority of Medicare supplements sold in the United States are not Medicare Select plans.

Most people find that one of the most valuable benefits of purchasing a supplement is not having network restrictions.

Standardized Medicare supplement plans include; plans A, B, C, D, F, G, K, L, M and N. Blue Cross C Plus consists of either Plan B or F. If you purchase C Plus you must use in-network providers.

There are approximately 11,000 providers in Alabama with 100% of hospitals in network. You are also covered when you travel anywhere in the United states.

Benefits of Blue Cross Blue Shield C Plus include:

If you are interested in purchasing a Medicare supplement it would be wise to compare prices from several insurance companies.

Comparing prices is easy because plans are standardized. Companies use different methods to set premiums and some companies give preferred rates to non-smokers.

The coverage for Blue cross C Plus in Alabama is good with a strong network of providers and premiums are quite often competitive. This plan is worth considering unless you are interested in one of the other supplements not included as C Plus policies.

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my Blue cross c plus and my part d have taken very good care of me and i see no reason to make any change

Eleanor, That’s perfectly acceptable. Be sure that your Part D hasn’t changed benefits or the premium to the point where it may not take good care of you. Part D plans are annual plans and can and often do change each year.

How can i get a replacement card? Mine is broken.

James, Call Blue Cross or your agent to request a new card.

My husband has several health problems.
1. A fib in hospital 5 days out of pocket cost was $0.00
2. Three mine stroke three day in hospital stay our cost $0.00
3. Prostate cancer, robotic surgery three day hospital stay and one year after care our cost $0.00
4. Then for me total hear loss in one ear, day surgery implant so I can hear our cost $0.00
5. Me shattered left wrist after a fall surgery and a fixater our cost $0.00
My only complain is we had to buy a separate part D plan it’s expensive and our C plus is provided through his 49 year job.

Margo, Overall it sounds like you have a good deal!

My husband was switched to an advantage plan last year by my husbands retires group. None of us in the group felt we were given enough notice of what was happening and what that meant to us. Thankfully My husband didn’t have any major medical issues this year so it wasn’t a big deal. The problem is that my husband needs major medical care due to a brain hemorrhage 3.75 years ago and resulting aphasia. He is a type 1 diabetic on Novolog and an insulin pump. He needs 8.5 hrs of speech therapy a week and he is on Lamictal seizure medication. Generics are not acceptable as they can veri in effectiveness +- 20% and that variance can trigger a seizure. Anyway, there are co-pays for everything and many of the copays do not apply to the OOP maximums. Can BCBS c+ help us get better coverage for his major medical issues. He has had 2 back surgeries and 1 beck surgery and carpel tunnel surgery both wrists and vaportrode prostate surgery to open the urethra. I talk to independent insurance agents and they never get back to us or they say we can’t afford to change insurances due to the cost of the 3 meds my husband uses. I talk to the retirees group and they say we should beable to get other insurance. We will loose our drug coverage and with other drug coverage he will be in the gap by March of the year.
His current drug plan is connected to the retirees group and will be terminated if the blue advantage ppo plan is dropped. We will also loose $600 in other reimbursments.

Belinda, I would recommend that you schedule a face-to-face meeting with a Blue Cross agent. Explain your situation and don’t leave their office until you get your questions answered.

I guess I have the problem other folks have experienced. I do know that I have to purchase Part D Prescription Drug Insurance at $69.50 per month that I believe was included in my BlueAdvantage BC/BS insurance. But like others I do not know the differences between BC/BS Blue Advantege and BC/BS C + and whether I should purchase one over the other. For the past 8-9 years I have had the BC/BS Blue Advantage coverage. Thank you for your help.

Joe, Blue Advantage and BC/BS C+ are two different types of plans. Blue Advantage is an Advantage Plan and C+ is a Medicare supplement. By not knowing your situation (do you have a special enrollment period? can you pass medical underwriting if you want a supplement? etc.) I would recommend that you speak with an agent. I’d also point out that Blue Cross is not the only option in Alabama. Speak with an insurance broker that represents several carries to lean more about all your options.

Thank you for your earlier advice. Although I did not check other carriers I was able to apply and get approved during the re-enrollment period . I am 74 years old so deductibles are more important to our family. My question at this time is the premiums are higher and I have to purchase Part D what is the difference between the Blue Advantage I had before and now the Alabama Blue Cross C+ Plan F. Thank you for your help.

Joe, Blue Advantage is an Advantage Plan and Plan F is a Medigap policy. An Advantage Plan requires that you pay deductibles, copays and coinsurance when you use your plan. You are also required to use the plan’s network of providers. Part D is often included. Advantage Plans are annual plans and can change benefits, premiums or provider networks each year. A Medigap policy is another term for Medicare supplement. There are 10 different standardized supplements. Plan F is the most comprehensive. It will pay the 20% that you would normally pay if you only had original Medicare. Part D is not included. You can use any provider that accepts Medicare. A supplement like Plan F is not an annual plan. As long as you pay your premiums you are good to go. I hope that helps.

Thank you Mr. Forbes. You have been very helpful. Joe Flaherty

My mother is 67 and only has Medicare (not sure what the plan type is). She needs some type of supplement as well as better drug coverage. Can anyone offer any advise as to where we need to start??

Tammie, You can compare all plan types here. You can also call 888-310-0376 to speak with an agent from ehealth.

Thank you for your help. I have another question for you. I just filled my first prescription for my new coverage. I understand that with Blue Advantage I did not have to purchase presctiption drug coverage. My question is why my payment for the same drug is 3 times higher under this prescription drug policy that amount I paid under blue advantage. Drug is atenolol 25 Mgs. I hope I explained question properly. Your help is appreciated. Joe

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