1 Minute ReviewLeave Your Own 1 Minute Review!
Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) has more contracted providers than any other insurer. Its breadth is one of its strengths — if you’re traveling, you can find a BCBS provider relatively easily. It offers Medicare Advantage plans, Medicare Supplement plans and Medicare Part D prescription drug plans.
BCBS is divided into regional companies, so you may not have all options available in your area. Customer service options may also vary depending on where you live and which regional company you’re working with.
- Top-ranked and reputable health insurance company
- Wide network of doctors, hospitals and specialists across the U.S.
- Offers Medicare Advantage, Medicare supplement and Medicare Part D plans
- Available in all 50 states, Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico
- Health and wellness discounts offered
- Product offerings vary by region
Blue Cross Blue Shield, often called BCBS, offers a full range of Medicare options. Which one is right for you? Learn about your options in this BCBS Medicare Review.
Many companies are on the market, but one name you are probably familiar with is Blue Cross Blue Shield. Blue Cross Blue Shield has been in the health insurance business for 90 years, so it’s a credible and reputable company. If you’re considering an insurance plan from BCBS, use our guide to learn more.
BCBS offers a full range of Medicare products. Keep in mind that BCBS is divided into regional companies, and not all products will be available in every region. That said, here are the Medicare products offered by BCBS:
Medicare Advantage Plans
Medicare Advantage plans are a bundled alternative to Original Medicare. They provide Medicare Part A and B benefits. Most plans also include Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage and other benefits like dental and/or vision care.
Medicare Supplement Plans
Also known as Medigap policies, these plans pay after Original Medicare. They pay Medicare Part A and B coinsurance and provide limited additional coverage. For example, some Medicare Supplement plans pay up to 80% of foreign travel emergency costs (subject to plan limits).
Medicare Supplement plans are standardized by letter, which means a Plan A purchased from BCBS will have exactly the same benefits as a Plan A purchased from another company. Plan prices will vary from company to company, however.
Medicare Part D Plans
These plans help to cover prescription drug costs. You can purchase a Part D plan if you have Original Medicare alone or Original Medicare with a Medicare Supplement plan. You can also purchase a Medicare Part D plan with certain Medicare Advantage plans that don’t have prescription coverage.
BCBS prices vary depending on your age and gender. They also vary depending on which type of plan you opt to purchase and which BCBS region you’re in. It does have low-cost options available in many regions, however.
For example, if you live in Chicago, you can purchase a $0 premium Medicare Advantage plan with no deductible. The plan includes prescription drug coverage and extra benefits like hearing care, comprehensive dental care and vision care.
BCBS customer service varies depending on what region you’re in and on which plan you purchase. For example, BCBS Medicare Advantage plans are rated 3.5/5 stars by Medicare in Chicago but 4/5 stars in California. If you’re considering a BCBS plan, look at its rating from Medicare and look at local online reviews when making your decision.
BCBS doesn’t have one mobile app. Instead, each regional plan has a mobile app. Each app has its own features, but in general, the apps help you find doctors and facilities and track claims. It may also offer digital ID cards. Some apps also allow you to track your spending so you can view your progress toward meeting your deductible (if your plan has one). User ratings range from about 3 to 4 stars depending on the app.
As with everything else about BCBS, the claims process varies depending on which region you’re in. It also varies depending on the type of plan you have.
Medicare Supplement plan claims are relatively simple. Medicare pays first, and then the Medigap policy pays according to the terms of the plan.
Medicare Advantage claims can be a bit more complicated. These claims aren’t billed through Medicare; providers bill your plan directly. Medicare Advantage plans also have provider networks. If you have a health maintenance organization (HMO), you’ll need to see an in-network provider (unless it’s an emergency). If you see an out-of-network provider, your plan may not cover your care. Preferred provider organizations (PPOs) have more flexibility. You can see out-of-network providers, but you typically pay more if you do.
Medicare Part D plans are also complex. Prescriptions are on a formulary, which is a list of what name-brand and generic drugs your plan covers, and your costs vary depending on what tier your prescriptions are in.
With all types of plans, don’t hesitate to contact customer service if you have questions about claims or how your plan works.
Medicare Advantage plans often offer extra benefits. BCBS’s plans vary depending on which BCBS Medicare Advantage plan you choose. For example, a Medicare Advantage plan purchased from BCBS of Illinois offers:
- Hearing benefits
- Preventive and comprehensive dental
- Vision care
- Fitness benefits
- Transportation benefits
A plan purchased from Blue Shield of California (a non-profit mutual benefit corporation and health plan) offers all the benefits above except transportation.
BCBS is a well-established insurance company. It has providers across the country, making it a good choice if you travel. To choose the right plan for you, review the BCBS options available in your area and choose a plan that offers the benefits you need at an affordable price.
BCBS Medicare vs. Competitors
You can find BCBS plans in all 50 states, which sets it apart from many of its competitors. It also has the largest provider network of any insurer. Its Medicare Supplement plan benefits are identical to its competitors because they’re required to be by law. Its Medicare Advantage plan benefits are extensive, even on its plans with a $0 premium, which sets it apart from its competition.
CoverRight simplifies this process of finding the right Medicare or Medicare Supplement plan, also known as Medigap. They’re a consumer-first platform helping Medicare-eligible people pick the best plans.
After completing a simple online form or phone call, a dedicated agent will prepare personalized quotes that make sense for you, whether it’s a Medigap policy or a Medicare Advantage plan. CoverRight’s agents can help you determine which plan makes the most sense for your budget and health care needs.
CoverRight has extensive customer service hours. It provides independent advice, and working with CoverRight is free.
- Medicare-eligible people
- People who want assistance choosing the right plans
- Easy application process
- Assistance in finding the right insurance plan
- Help in finding an insurance plan that covers your doctors and medications
- Concierge-style service with your own dedicated agent
- Not available in every state
Shop for Medicare Advantage and Supplement plans and more with Aetna. Benefit from a wide provider network and easy access to your benefits as well as hefty membership perks.
- Easy access to benefits and member support
- Preventative care planner
- Easy access to tools and resources
- Wide network access
- Need a referral for certain procedures and specialists
Easily shop and compare Medicare Advantage Plans, Part D Prescription Plans and Medicare Supplement Insurance. Cigna provides end-to-end assistance and provides plenty of member benefits at no extra cost.
- Easy access to benefits
- Home delivery for prescriptions
- Health management mobile apps
- Easy ID card replacement
- Can have high deductibles
Humana is a trusted provider of Medicare Advantage and Medicare Supplement plans alike. Save both time and money by shopping online — get a 6% discount if you enroll online.*
*Offer not available to California, Connecticut and Ohio residents.
- Medicare Advantage Plans
- Medicare Parts A + B and Medigap plans available
- 6% discount if you enroll online
- Shop plans by ZIP code
- Discount not available CA, CT and OH
What is Medicare?
Medicare is a federally-funded health insurance program geared toward people ages 65 and up who are U.S. citizens and who have paid Medicare taxes throughout their careers. It’s also available to disabled individuals under the age of 65 who receive Social Security Disability benefits.
Medicare is divided into 4 parts:
Part A: Covers inpatient hospital care, skilled nursing care and some home care.
Part B: Covers doctor visits, outpatient care, and medical equipment. Part B’s monthly premium is based on your annual income and is often deducted from your Social Security withholdings. This premium is separate from health insurance premiums you’ll pay if you choose a Medicare Advantage, Medigap, or Part D plan.
Parts A and B are also known as Original Medicare.
Part C: Also called Medicare Advantage plans, these are offered by private insurers and cover care not usually provided with Original Medicare.
Part D: Prescription drug plans offered by private insurance companies. Original Medicare doesn’t cover prescription drugs.
You can also buy medical supplemental insurance plans, known as Medigap plans. Medical supplemental plans fill in gaps not covered by Original Medicare and are offered by private insurers. If you don’t choose a Medicare plan within the short 7-month window, you could pay a financial penalty.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is the government agency that oversees all Medicare plans. CMS sets guidelines private insurers must follow regarding plan features, marketing, quality and pricing. CMS rates plans from 1–5 stars with 5 stars being the highest in areas such as provider choice, performance, customer service and quality. Plans that violate CMS policies can be suspended or terminated, and insurers can be fined.
Who’s Blue Cross Blue Shield Medicare For?
You’re eligible for Blue Cross Blue Shield Medicare if you are:
- About to turn 65, just turned 65 and up to 3 months after your birthday
- Deemed disabled by the Social Security Administration and collecting disability benefits; can be under the age of 65
- An individual or spouse seeking a Medicare Advantage plan
- An employee turning 65 still working; can choose a Medicare Advantage group plan through employer
- Paid Medicare taxes and a U.S. citizen
Pick the Right Medicare Plan with BCBS
If it’s time to choose your Medicare plan, BSBS is a great choice. Compare plans from different providers to be sure you’re getting the best price and coverage.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. What percentage does BCBS Cover?
Unfortunately, there’s no set percentage that BCBS covers. Medicare Supplement plans are standardized, but each lettered plan has slightly different benefits. For example, Medicare Supplement Plan A doesn’t cover the Medicare Part A deductible, but the supplemental Plan B does cover the Part B deductible. Medicare Advantage plans vary even more, and many have copays instead of (or in addition to) coinsurance. A copay is a set dollar amount you pay for a service. For example, you might pay $25 to visit a specialist.
The best way to find the percentage BCBS pays is to contact plans you’re interested in and ask about the services you use most frequently.
Q. How does BCBS work with Medicare?
BCBS works with Medicare in a few ways. First, it must be approved by Medicare to offer Medicare-related plans. It pays after Medicare if you have a BCBS Medicare Supplement plan. If you have a Medicare Advantage plan, Medicare pays BCBS a set amount each month. Your health care providers bill BCBS for any services you receive.