Consistent rates and quality benefits highlight

Consistent rates and quality benefits highlight Independent Health’s 2012 Medicare Advantage plan offerings

Buffalo, N.Y., (October 5, 2011) - As part of its commitment to provide access to affordable, quality health care, Independent Health will be maintaining its current premium rates for four of its Medicare Advantage individual plans in 2012. The monthly premium for one plan – Independent Health’s Encompass 65® HMO plan without prescription drug coverage – is even being lowered from $6 to $0. Independent Health’s other Medicare Advantage plan is increasing by only $4 per month.

Independent Health will continue to offer a variety of plans that are designed to meet specific needs, such as $0 monthly premium plans that include the Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit, as well as PPO options. In addition, many of Independent Health’s Medicare Advantage plans will include quality benefits*, including:
• $0 copayment for over 30 preferred generic drugs that are used to treat conditions such
as diabetes, high blood pressure, reflux, glaucoma and osteoporosis, among others.
• $0 copayment for preventive services such as mammograms, cholesterol screenings
colonoscopies and annual physicals.
• Basic gym membership through the exclusive SilverSneakers® Fitness Program.**
• Comprehensive vision coverage, including $0 copayment for routine eye exams.
• Preventive dental services, including up to two exams and cleanings a year.

“Independent Health Medicare Advantage members can expect to receive more of the same great coverage and benefits they’ve become accustomed to, as well as have continued access to our outstanding health promotion programs and award-winning customer service,” said Linda Rehrauer, director, government sales.

More people choose Independent Health for their Medicare Advantage coverage than any other plan in Western New York.*** Independent Health has been able to control its Medicare costs by “educating our members on the benefits of using generic medications and designing programs and initiatives to help keep our Medicare members informed and healthy,” said Rehrauer.

Among the Independent Health programs and initiatives that are helping its member live healthier lives are:

• Care Transitions – Program designed to reduce preventable readmissions by preparing our members with the knowledge and skills necessary to manage their conditions after a hospital discharge. Due in large part to the implementation of this program, Independent Health’s hospital readmission rate decreased 3 percent in 2010.

• Health Coaching – Independent Health has a team of health coaches that specialize in disease management. They proactively reach out to members to educate them about their condition, recommend appropriate lifestyle modifications and encourage self-monitoring skills.

In addition, Independent Health partners with community physicians and provides them with resources and tools to help them better address the health needs of their patients. As a result of these efforts, more than 95 percent of Independent Health members receive preventive services.**** The percentage of members who undergo breast cancer and colorectal cancer screening is higher than state and national averages.

Medicare Annual Enrollment Period
Beginning this year, the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period dates are changing. Individuals who are Medicare eligible will now be able to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan or switch their Medicare coverage between October 15, 2011 and December 7, 2011 for a January 1, 2012 effective date.

To make sure that Western New Yorkers are well-informed when it comes to their Medicare coverage, Independent Health has once again opened several Medicare Information Centers throughout the region. In addition to year-round sites in Cheektowaga/Depew and Orchard Park, there are four conveniently-located centers that are available through the Annual Enrollment Period.

“Even though we continue to hold seminars throughout Western New York, these special centers give people a place to visit whenever it’s easiest for them and allow them to get their questions answered in a comfortable setting,” said Rehrauer.

Individuals who are Medicare eligible are invited to stop by one of these centers for their exclusive RedShirt Benefit Review. An Independent Health RedShirt will meet with individuals one-on-one† to discuss their specific health care and prescription needs and help them find a plan that best meets their budget.

Independent Health’s Medicare Information Centers are open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the following locations:

Valu Plaza
(Across the street from Wegmans)
620 Dick Road

Niagara Falls
Wegmans Plaza
1637 Military Road

Youngmann Plaza
(B.J.’s Wholesale Plaza)
746 Young Street

Independent Health
66 Chautauqua Avenue

Orchard Park
Tops Plaza
(Near Tim Horton’s)
3223 Southwestern Boulevard

Independent Health’s Customer Service Center
250 Essjay Road

Independent Health RedShirts will also be onsite at the Dale Association in Lockport on Wednesdays and Fridays.

Individuals with questions about Independent Health’s Medicare Advantage plans or Medicare Information Centers can call (716) 635-4900 or 1 (800) 958-4405, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. (February 15-October 14) and Monday through Sunday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. (October 15-February 14). TDD users: 1 (800) 432-1110.

Headquartered in Buffalo, Independent Health began operations in 1980 and has consistently been rated among the top health plans in the country for customer service and member satisfaction. Independent Health’s comprehensive portfolio of product and service offerings include HMO, POS, PPO and EPO products, Medicare and Medicaid plans, traditional indemnity insurance, consumer-directed plans, coverage for self-funded employers, plus health savings account (HSA) and pharmacy benefit management (PBM) services. Independent Health’s extensive provider networks include more than 846,000 physicians, 3,700 hospitals, and 53,000 pharmacies nationally. Combined, the company provides health benefits and services to nearly 375,000 individuals in Western New York and throughout the country. For more information, visit Independent Health’s website at

A Medicare Advantage organization with a Medicare contract.

*Benefits vary by plan. The benefit information provided herein is a brief summary, not a comprehensive description of benefits. For more information, contact the plan. Benefits, premiums and/or copayments may change on January 1, 2013.

**SilverSneakers is offered in all eight counties of Western New York, and is exclusively offered in Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie, and Niagara counties and at participating locations nationwide.

***Per CMS/WNY enrollment data, 9/11.

****Per HEDIS 2010 Data.

†A sales person will be present with information and applications. For accommodations of persons with special needs at sales meetings, please call (716) 635-4900 or 1 (800) 958-4405, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. (February 15 – October 14) and Monday through Sunday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. (October 15 – February 14). TDD users call 1-888-357-9167.

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